How To Get The Most Out of Studying Abroad

By : Celine Ho

Don’t worry, this isn’t an essay. I promise.

Everyone loves vacation. I mean, how can you not? Going to another country, getting a taste of their authenticity, and submerging yourself in a new culture, it’s all so new and all so foreign.

Now close your eyes and think of this. Think of yourself, going somewhere else, but this time, take away that camera around your neck and forget about going hunting for tourist attractions. Think about the culture itself. Think about what it would be like to be in their shoes…

And there you got it.

That’s the magic of studying abroad.

Now, you may be wondering, what the heck am I talking about? Studying abroad? That ‘amazing journey’ where some brave students decide to embark on every quarter? Yes, you’re right. But it’s not exactly that.

Ever notice when these students come back not only with souvenirs, but with a smile so big? Why are they smiling? What’s so good about studying abroad, that leads to that huge smile of theirs?

Now we’re getting somewhere. What I’m trying to point out to you is not only the effects of studying abroad on students, but how these effects connect and benefit others. It’s an interchanging experience.

So, here it goes.

I’m an international student. I’m not from here. America is not my country. But that’s not my point.

The point I’m trying to get at are how studying abroad affects you, if you ever decide to go on that journey. And trust me, not everyone will. It’s not easy studying in another country, where you don’t know anyone and you struggle against homesickness. You’re in a new place, and that’s common. Embrace that difference. Enjoy it, even.

Studying abroad is going to affect you long-term. I mean it. Think about all the things you’ll gain from it. Can’t? Let me give you a few brainstorming ideas to get you started.

1) New connections: You’re BOUND to meet new people.

2) Understanding!!!! And I mean understanding. Understanding the new culture, or even the world globally. Or even understanding yourself a little better.

3) The road to independence! Yes! You’re going to have to live by yourself. No more daddy or mommy to tell you what to do anymore!

4) It’s an unforgettable experience. There’s nothing more to say to that. It’s. Great. Period.

These benefits go to you — and in many ways — to other people too. Your connections and your experience is going to mark a place in your heart, and possibly your future career. Your experience is another person’s experience as well.

Don’t take your experience lightly either. Take every culture as something completely new. Don’t let the stereotypes change your view, and don’t let it dig a hole for you to fall in. Take in the new, and forget the old. Remembering what you learned is great, but this is a time for you to polish your knowledge, and intake something new.

One thing you must remember is to never take studying abroad as a vacation. Instead of immersing into the culture and understanding it from a new view, you’ll be too busy taking photos to care about the details, and forget why you’re truly there. You’ll block out the voices of the culture, only hearing your own voice.

What I want you to get from reading this is not simply knowing the effects of studying abroad. I’m not here to promote studying abroad to you. True, I recommend it. I do think you should go. It is amazing, as I’ve already said.

But what I really want to say is no matter what your plan for your future is — and if it doesn’t include studying abroad that’s fine — you should just do it. Don’t let any hardships or fears draw a line to reaching your full potential.

That’s what I’ve learned from my own experience. When fear crawls in, you’re tempted to pull up the sheets and shut out everything. But if you lift those covers a bit, you’ll find yourself in something so much more rewarding.

Cheers to you. I hope you find something worth uncovering your covers for.