So you want to study abroad. It is scary to leave your family and friends and go to a new country where you do not know anyone. It is scarier when you have to live there for months or years and study. I mean study? While being homesick, jetlagged, sick, having no one to call a friend and lonely. If you go with your colleagues or classmates then you are lucky, if you go alone then you are up for an adventure. It is one of the best things in the world to study in another country because it is a sign of bravery, you learn about a new culture, you try new food, you meet a lot of people, probably learn a new language, see new places and visit places you never thought you would go and so many more. It brings mixed emotionality brings joy, tears and excitement. It comes with a lot of emotions and depending on age and maturity it is handled differently in each case. It is very important that as students we broaden our horizon and think outside the box. Studying in a different country is full of life and experiences.
Study abroad is a program in which students attend school in a country outside the United States and receive academic credit toward their major. Most Universities have a study abroad program but students do not take advantage of this great opportunity because they do not know about its study abroad program need to encourage students to apply and go. It is normal for college students to be scared of going to another country but the adventure is worth it.
My best friend Trish is from Burkina Faso and she spoke fluent French since that was the official language of her country. She came through the study abroad program and she could not speak a word of English. She did not even know how to say hi or hello. It sounds bit extra-ordinary for a French speaking girl to come all the way across the world to study and she came on her own. It could be bravery, it could be determination and it could be strength. I agree that it is a combination of a lot of things. It is courageous to leave the comfort of your family and go to a new place having no idea of how it would be or the currency exchange rate. Every 1 dollar is 597 C.F.A Franc. So if she buys a dollar burger in McDonalds then she has spent 597 in her country’s currency. Those things make it hard for study abroad students to afford all the things they want or need. The struggle is real for students but it is even worse for those from other countries.
It is a dream come true to study abroad.
Here are some tips if you want to study abroad:
- Research: research a lot about the country and what to study there. Be so familiar that when you get there, it is as if you were born there. That is the power of reading. Read so much about the new country that you know how to greet and ask for directions. My best friend did no research and so when she came she had no idea of how to say hi that she could not even communicate. Her French was great but she knew no word in Englisg.People commended her for her bravery to leave her country but she did not understand what she was saying and it was exciting for me to have a friend that knew the language that I tried to learn so badly but could only say “Bonjour”.
- Have defined goals: Always have defined goals because it is easy to get distracted in a new country and go for adventures instead of studying and working. Have goals written down and study them daily until your trip because it easy to get there and be so excited that you forget what you are there to do. Stick to the set rules and do not visit expensive places or eat at expensive reatsuarnts.Make good use of the opportunity and do well with the major you are studying.
- Decide where to go: Choose where to go. That is the most important tip here. When choosing calculate the costs of living, calculate the cost of study, make sure you know the language a bit or at least learn it.Choose a place that would benefit you. It is true that the world is big and there are so many places to go but do not choose a place because of tourist attractions or because it is convenient, choose a place that you would learn a lot and even challenge you to learn a new language. It looks good on your resume that you speak more than one language. It makes you look diverse and cool.
- Prepare to go: When you have made that decision to go to another country, the next step is to prepare the visa and the travelling dates. Pack the important stuff like jacket, toiletries, clothing, camera, money and the essential things. Pack only necessary stuff and go online to check the items that are not allowed in the country’s airport. On the day of the trip, get to the airport early and check in.Carry your passport, visa and school documents and documents needed as stated by the website of the embassy if the country you want to go. Be careful so as to not lose any documents because without them you would not get pass the airport security. Put those documents in a folder. If this is your first time in an airplane then you may feel weird on the plane but the best thing is to sleep most if the flight or face your fear and enjoy the views.
- When traveling, do not leave your luggages’ anywhere or accept any luggaes’ from strangers, do not become a target for thieves by wearing expensive jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of cash or unnecessary credit cards. Be vigilant and watch your surroundings. Get your money from authorized agents so that you do not get duped or get fake money. Avoid doing anything that would look rude to others. Try to act in a mannered way so as to not disobey the laws of the country.
- When you get to your destination: Be excited that you have a new life and you have gotten to this place where you have dreamt of being for some time now. Be grateful that you have finally reached where you want to be. The first thing is to get to your accommodation form the airport. Rest well. Then start navigating the country.
- Make use of the time in the country: Do well and make good use of your time at the country. Do not get drunk at parties, do not go out with strangers, do not get rides from strange people.do not do anything you would not do at home. Do not do anything that would get you in trouble with the law. Enjoy but be responsible. Do have fun but be careful so as not to get into any trouble. Be careful and be safe. Enjoy the food. Joy everything and be happy. Work hard and do well in school. Do well and be successful. Get as many pictures as you can.Get as much from this experience and do not take it for granted.
Trish spent a year learning English and now she is perfect at it.She can speak three languages now and she is so happy to be studying here.She talks to her family via skype. She is a focused student maintaining a 3.8 g.p.a.She is loving the food and the life here.She loves everything. It is incredible to study in a country you cannot speak the language because you are forced to learn a lot.
Traveling outside the United States will be an education in itself. There's no need to limit yourself to a classroom; while studying abroad you will be able to learn 24 hours. It is important to work hard and use the opportunity well.
Studying abroad improves your academic, professional and financial potential. It helps your improve your networking skills and also gain a competitive edge for graduate school. It changes your life and helps you see life in a whole new way. I hope a lot of people can step out of their comfort zone and study abroad and try a new life. It is full of amazing things and adventures. It may be scary at first buy it gets better as time goes on. I see Trish and tell myself “This is a brave person”. So all college students who have the opportunity to be brave and go abroad please do it, It helps you grow and see the world in a whole new global perspective. The new country will bring surprises to you but it is worth it.I have a quote that says “Never be afraid to face your fears, you live only once so dream and dream big, fly if possible and dare to be different.”