8 Things We Learned From Studying Abroad
Studying abroad is often the most exciting and rewarding times one has in college. We asked GW ESA sisters who studied abroad this past fall what they learned from their experience – see some of their takeaways from below
1. Take advantage of cultural opportunities
Set aside some time to explore the local culture! Whether it's going to museums, performances, or interacting with people native to the country you're in, don't forget to soak it all up. Chances are you've chosen to study there because you love some aspect of the country's culture, so don't get so caught up in academics (or nightlife!) that you neglect those opportunities.
2. Put yourself out there
Be open to new experiences and new people. Study abroad is a once in a lifetime thing. Don't waste your time hesitant to try something or nervous to meet new people. In all likelihood, the food is delicious and the people will be your friends for life.
3. Don’t be afraid to practice the language
If you're in a non-English speaking country, don't be afraid to practice the language! It can be super intimidating to speak to people when you know you don't have the best accent or might make a grammar mistake, but it's so important to take advantage of this time! Even if it's just spending half an hour a day speaking the language with your friends (and letting them correct you), you'll see drastic improvements in your skills. You may never have the opportunity to be so immersed in the language again, so take advantage of it as much as possible!
4. Embrace local customs
Try to follow local customs. A little goes a long way. Even if you aren't doing everything the right way, people recognize when you make an effort and it helps you connect with them.
5. It's okay to not be in total control of every situation.
From messed up transportation to simply not understanding what the Greek woman is trying to say to you, everything will work out. Don't stress.
6. Relax and enjoy yourself
It's okay if you don't get to every museum, or if you aren't fluent by the time you leave, or if your grades slip a little. What's most important is that you enjoy your time abroad and having the experience that makes you happy. And remember, everyone has days where they just need to sit in bed and watch Netflix for 7 hours. No one will fault you for it.
7. Explore More
Never stop exploring. I kept a running lists of places I wanted to go and sites I wanted to see while abroad. I always had something to look forward to!
Take a second to reflect on your life. Being abroad was surreal. It's important to reflect on what got you to where you are