Points to consider before going abroad
What should you expect when you head to a new country?
Hopefully, you’ll have done some preliminary research about your host country before heading abroad but learning about a country on paper is no substitute for being there in person. The most important thing is to keep an open mind and observe your surroundings objectively. It’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong. If you look at study abroad as a chance to learn about a new culture instead of a comparison, you’ll both learn more and likely be less stressed while adjusting to life abroad.
Adjusting to a new culture
What type of study abroad program you choose makes a difference in how immersed you’ll be in your host culture. A program where you’ll be speaking the local language and studying at a local university will put you in closer proximity with the host culture than one where you’ll be taking classes in English and studying abroad with other AU students for example.
That being said, no matter what type of program you choose, living in a foreign country is an adjustment. There will be new customs to experience, new food to try and a different way of life to explore. It’s a personal journey that’s unique to you as you change and grow over your time abroad.
Connecting while you’re abroad
One of the great things about study abroad is getting to meet new people and making new friends in your host country! Not only does it give you a different perspective and expand your network, it also gives you people you can reach out to with questions you might have on the ground.
That isn’t to say that you need to abandon your support system here in the US though. It’s important to stay in contact with your friends and family as well and chatting with people from home can definitely be a good way to talk about what you’re experiencing and to de-stress. The important thing is to find a balance between the two that works for you!