Studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity that's offered to university students. They can spend a semester or year experiencing a new culture and travelling. Joana Pessoa de Amorim interviewed 20 study abroad students aged between 19 and 55 from different countries around the world and very different backgrounds to find out their study abroad experiences.
1. “I had to start fresh, in a country where they spoke another language.” - A Spanish undergraduate student studying abroad in London.
Even though gestures are the universal language for when you are trying to communicate with someone from a different country, it is becoming more common to have people speak more than one language. What is the best way to practice what you have learnt? Moving to a country where they speak that language where you'll be forced to show-off your language skills. A lot of study abroad programs offer options for the language you want to be taught in, however there are some where the foreign language is the only option. This is for sure a challenge and fun experience to really master a different language.
2. “A very unique experience that I’ll never forget. Great friends made.” - An American postgraduate student studying abroad from Atlanta.
If you are studying abroad, you will most likely find people in the same situation as you, alone in a different country and open to meeting new people and making new friends. Well, this is the perfect recipe to make meaningful connections that hopefully will last forever. It can be tough coming into a classroom and see friendship groups already formed. The good thing is that you might get lucky and find study abroad students who will be open to meet you and make life a little bit easier.
3. “I learned a lot about the different teaching methods of the other country which were very different from my own, I also got to attend a type of classes that were more accurate for the type of career I have in mind.” - A Portuguese undergraduate student who studied abroad at the University of Peloponnese in Greece.
Education varies from country to country, and you might find better programs in other places. Making the decision to move permanently to a different country to attend university can be a very daunting and expensive thing to do. So, studying abroad is the perfect opportunity to gain experience in a different country for a shorter period of time. With this, you can customize your program and really focus it on what you want to do in the future. Being somewhere different will also expose you to new teaching styles that you might find more appealing.
4. “It breaks you out of a bubble. Shows you how little you are by giving you a glance at how large the world really is.” - An American postgraduate student from Nashville Tennessee, studying abroad in England
The world is a huge place, and although the internet has helped us stay connected, it is hard to understand how big it really is. It is not until you travel to a different country that you can really get a glimpse of what the world has to offer. Studying abroad is an experience that will connect you to different cultures, different people and emerge you in new adventures. It makes you realize that your world does not have to be the little town you were born in but a sea of endless possibilities.
5. “I had to cook, do laundry, many things that my parents did back at home, and now I can appreciate their efforts even more...This experience has helped me a lot to grow as a person. Studying abroad has given me a chance to prove to my parents that I am mature, and [that] I can do everything by myself. All of this would not have been possible if I hadn’t gone to study abroad.” - An undergraduate student from Madrid studying abroad in the UK.
If you have lived your whole young life in the comfort of your home, you might be used to having things done for you by your parents. Well, when you are studying abroad all of that changes and now you are the one in charge to make your own comfort. You are undoubtedly going to earn a new type of independence and will for sure gain life experience with the obstacles you may have to conquer. At this time you will learn self-reliance, which will give you a new and deeper personal understanding.
About the Author:
Joana Pessoa de Amorim is a Portuguese graduate student at Richmond University who is currently completing a MA in Advertising and PR. In the past two years, she studied in two different countries (Spain and England) which allowed her to face new cultures and meet new people who shared the same experience.
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