Stories From Abroad

 

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Stories From Abroad (83)

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Hear first-hand stories from students who have built essential international skills by studying, volunteering, interning, teaching or working abroad. This is your portal to career-boosting international adventures!

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Stories From Abroad

83
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2
(2)
1736
22
Asia (22)
1735
4
Australia, New Zealand & Oceania (4)
1888
1
Central America & the Caribbean (1)
1734
2
Eastern Europe & Russia (2)
1737
1
Middle East & North Africa (1)
1731
5
North America (includes Mexico) (5)
1732
8
South America (8)
1738
11
Sub-Saharan Africa (11)
1733
29
Western Europe (29)
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(1)
2100
13
Intern Abroad (13)
2101
6
Learn A Language Abroad (6)
2102
33
Study Abroad (33)
2103
13
Teach English Abroad (13)
2104
5
Travel Smarts (5)
2105
15
Volunteer Abroad (15)
2106
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Work Abroad (5)
2107
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Working Vacations (4)
83
14594
Growing Abroad: Hong Kong & South Korea
1
9770
Contributing To Change In Ghana
2
9760
Getting In Sync In Nairobi
3
9799
Getting Settled In Seoul
4
10258
Encountering Cultures Across Europe
5
9772
Learning To Go With The Flow In France
6
10218
Adaptation And Appreciation In Japan
7
9776
Soaking Up Japanese Culture
8
9785
Motivated In Madagascar
9
9786
Kids And Culture In Korea
10
9748
Adventure In The Alps
11
9742
Take-Charge Travel: Germany And Beyond!
12
9788
Business And Pleasure In Australia
13
9744
Food, Fun And Festivals In Germany
14
9747
Fun And Friends In The Netherlands
15
9750
Host Hospitality In Morocco
16
9754
Building Memories In India
17
9775
A Year Of Feeling French
18
9752
Giving In Guatemala
19
9777
Into The Wild In Alaska
20
9759
From Cold Feet To Confidence In Germany
21
9779
One Summer, Two Internships!
22
9753
A Season In Sweden
23
10230
Getting Caffeinated In Bolivia
24
10923
Insight And Education In Korea
25
11467
Stepping Outside the Box in Sweden!
26
11557
Un stage au Cambodge (Français)
27
9812
Caring And Career Skills In Belize
28
11468
Learning While Teaching in Beijing
29
10157
Changing Course In China
30
9740
Sports, Study And Fun In France
31
10204
Across Europe In A Caravan!
32
9787
A Spring Semester In London
33
10145
Real Stories And Real People In Mexico
34
9778
Study And Adventure In New Zealand
35
9766
Short-Term Trips For Long-Term Gain
36
9771
Learning To Love London
37
11645
A Love Affair with Shanghai
38
9755
People, Places And Passionate Volunteering In Peru
39
9738
Living For The Moment In Valencia
40
11845
Hospitality and Hosting in the DCR
41
11850
The Warmest Welcome in Guatemala
42
9783
Off The Beaten Path In Africa
43
9781
A Hospital Helper In Costa Rica
44
9757
Teaching And Learning In Tanzania
45
11996
Daring to Go Solo in Ireland
46
12058
Architectural Adventures in Australia
47
9773
Independent In India
48
9741
Adapting To Work In Peru
49
9746
A Cross-Cultural Co-Op In West Africa
50
83
Teaching in Hong Kong
Her thoughts on Adaptation
If you stay in a place long enough, there comes a point when the culture becomes part of you.
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
It was through all of my experiences in Korea that I truly came into myself and wasn’t afraid anymore to be who I wanted to be. I was free!
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
I formed friendships with teachers from five different continents, learned how to be independent in unfamiliar surroundings and challenged myself to try as many new experiences as possible.
Interned in Ghana
McGill University
His thoughts on Motivation
I wanted to do this internship because it aligned perfectly with my interests in law and international politics.
His thoughts on The International Workplace
I made an effort to work closely with the local employees. It was as simple as making sure I didn’t sit with the other interns at lunch, sharing it instead with my Ghanaian colleagues.
His thoughts on The International Workplace
In Ghana, it’s not acceptable to simply go into someone’s office and ask for a file. I had to be patient and spend a significant amount of time simply making friendly conversation.
His thoughts on Boosting Your Career
The internship has certainly helped my career. It opened my eyes to enthralling work that can be done with public policy in developing countries.
Interned in Kenya
University of Waterloo
Her thoughts on Motivation
As someone who loves to learn new languages, immerse myself in different cultures, and engage in unique travel experiences, I had a desire to go out and explore the world around me.
Her thoughts on Language Learning
Whether I was at work, volunteering, or just walking in the markets, locals would take the time to teach me a few words in Kiswalhili.
Her thoughts on Language Learning
In the workplace, everyone spoke in English, but my supervisors and co-workers taught me a few words in the local language, and when I would go out on weekends to the market, I would try to apply what I’d learned.
Taught English in Korea
Mount Allison University
Her thoughts on Motivation
I wanted another chance to live in a foreign culture, but I wanted to take it a step further and go where I wouldn’t be able speak or read the language.
Her thoughts on First Impressions
I felt disoriented and overwhelmed in the first couple of weeks. The jet lag, new language, pollution and creepy seafood all added up to feeling way out of my comfort zone.
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
It was tough to connect with other teachers outside of school, but my breakthrough came when I got involve with the Seoul Players, a theater company for expats.
Traveled in Europe
Plymouth State University
Her thoughts on Coming Home
I quickly realized that people tire of hearing your stories. It's difficult to communicate what the experience abroad was truly like. I began missing my gypsy lifestyle.
Her thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
I worked six days a week, sometimes for over 12 hours a day to make over $4,500 in three months, enough to fund my travels, as well as the necessary preparations, like a passport and a quality backpack.
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
Fear holds people back from taking the leap to travel, but I believe it is vital to have as many unique experiences as you can. I believe in living an extraordinary life.
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
We rarely ate at restaurants, instead packing picnics. But we made sure to have one nice meal out in each country to taste local specialities.
Studied in France
Carleton University
His thoughts on Boosting Your Career
I liked the idea of being immersed in a foreign culture, and the potential to bring back skills and knowledge to sell to employers upon graduation.
His thoughts on Personal Growth
Studying abroad forced me to change as an individual and learn about things that I previously had no interest in.
His thoughts on Language Learning
My time abroad has allowed me to gain fluency in French to a level where I can express myself with a degree of ease and spontaneity.
His thoughts on The Right Attitude
When things go wrong during your time abroad (such as missing your train), don’t forget to be happy and keep a sense of humor – this will go a long way!
His thoughts on Personal Growth
Before my exchange, I can definitely say that ambiguity was not my friend! But things changed during my exchange and I handle it much better than I did before. 
Taught English in Japan
Her thoughts on Communicating Abroad
The most important thing I learned about communication was that insecurity wasn't going to get me anywhere.
Her thoughts on Language Learning
I realized that my Japanese wasn't going to improve unless I used it, and I didn't need to be afraid of talking to strangers – all of my best encounters came as a result of taking a chance with people.
Her thoughts on Boosting Your Career
Teaching in Japan made an immeasurable impact on my life. When I returned to Canada, I knew I had to stay connected to this experience in some way – it really shaped my career aspirations.
Studied in Japan
Mount Royal University
His thoughts on Motivation
I was introduced to the world of Japan through comics, and from that I was motivated to do more research.
His thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
Getting everything in order early will give you time to think of anything you might have forgotten, and give you a chance to relax before you travel.
His thoughts on Cultural Differences
The way that the Japanese perceive themselves in relation to everyone else around them, and in different situations, dictates everything from how they act to how they speak. Hierarchy is very important.
His thoughts on Taking It All In
Meet new people. All of a sudden you’ll have a life outside of the exchange program, and your life in whatever country you’re in becomes much more exciting.
His thoughts on Personal Growth
To judge something like this as a ‘success’ is an understatement. In reality there isn’t a word I could put to such a massive thing as my year in Japan. I just want to go back.
His thoughts on Communicating Abroad
The meaning of a handshake, or a bow from the waist, or a smile often says more than a word ever could.
Interned in Madagascar
University of Waterloo
His thoughts on The International Workplace
Persevere. Companies, while willing to help students, have other commitments that are much higher on their priority lists and perseverance will be your greatest asset. 
His thoughts on Adaptation
At first it was a challenge to communicate with the Malagasy employees, but I quickly realized that I’d be more successful if I made the effort to adapt.
His thoughts on The Right Attitude
I wasn’t afraid to travel, try new foods, or get my hands dirty helping the villagers.
Taught English in South Korea
University of Alberta
Her thoughts on Motivation
I’d always been really interested in Korean culture; and through my research I learned that South Korea really provides the best package when it comes to teaching overseas.
Her thoughts on The International Workplace
The kids love their teachers! I taught fourth grade through sixth grade and it’s the only time I’ve ever felt like a rock star! My students would get so excited every time they saw me.
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
There were things that I didn’t understand, or that I found confusing… but I always took a step back and reminded myself that different cultures have different ways of doing things.
Her thoughts on Communicating Abroad
Be fearless; be open to advice and criticism; and be willing to throw yourself into the process of trying to communicate.
Worked in Switzerland
University of Waterloo
Her thoughts on The Application Process
To prepare for the interview I checked the company’s site and the qualities they wanted in the ideal candidate. I wanted the interviewer to know I’d done my prep work. I was offered the job on the spot!
Her thoughts on Communicating Abroad
With younger children it was surprisingly easy to get my point across. When we did have problems communicating, we’d act out the words, which would often result in us laughing!
Her thoughts on Adaptation
The biggest challenge I found to living in the Alps was the altitude. For the first few weeks I was out of breath after just a short walk to work. As an avid runner, this was a big shock for me.
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
On a trip to Morocco, we drank tea in a cave home with an Arabic family, attended a Bedouin wedding and went on a camel trek in the desert – things I never dreamed I’d get to do!
Studied in Germany
University of Ottawa
Her thoughts on Motivation
In essence, I decided to go on an exchange to live life while I was young.
Her thoughts on Adaptation
The academic formality that exists in the German school system is certainly something I had to adapt to. From interactions with professors after a class, to the way exams were written; they were a step up from what I was used to.
Her thoughts on Motivation
The beauty of it all was that for half a year, I lived somewhere where no one knew who I was before I stepped off that plane.
Her thoughts on Language Learning
You never, ever, ever sound stupid. Locals who see you genuinely trying to learn their language will do what they can to help you.
Her thoughts on Motivation
If you’re sitting on the fence about whether or not to apply for an exchange, I can tell you that my experience changed my life.
Studied in Australia
HEC Montreal
His thoughts on Motivation
It’s fundamental for our generation to understand the forces that shape the cultural backgrounds of people around us. Traveling is undoubtedly the best way to gain that understanding.
His thoughts on The Right Attitude
This experience taught me that everything eventually falls into place in life and there’s no need to worry about things we can’t control.
His thoughts on The Right Attitude
If you are willing to try new things and push your limits, I don’t see how your study abroad experience could not be a success.
His thoughts on Boosting Your Career
As a business student, studying overseas was a great idea as it enabled me to extend my business network. I met individuals abroad that could eventually become business partners.
His thoughts on Coming Home
I have decided to be as passionate about my hometown as I am about other places of the world. Surely, I would have never truly appreciated home if I had not gone away.
Studied & Learned a Language in Germany
Western
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
My advice for others is that when you’re on your excursions, be sure to explore the treasures within your own host city too!
Her thoughts on Motivation
If you have an interest in your host country, you'll find it's easy to adapt. You might even find new cultural norms that suit you better than your own.
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
If you get lost in the middle of Barcelona looking for the Picasso museum, so what? Explore what's around you!
Her thoughts on Coming Home
Coming back felt as if I had left my second home.
Studied in the Netherlands
Mount Royal University
Her thoughts on Boosting Your Career
Studying abroad developed my cross-cultural communication skills and made me more approachable and unafraid – which I'll take with me into my future career.
Her thoughts on The Application Process
In writing my application, I felt the most important aspect was to show my passion for traveling, learning and experiencing new cultures.
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
I was amazed at how easy it is to travel in Europe. I visited over 15 countries during my semester abroad!
Studied in Morocco
Drake University
His thoughts on Motivation
My sister spent a semester in Istanbul when I was 15. The thought of her thriving on a completely different continent got me thinking that maybe the world extended a little bit past my hometown of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
His thoughts on Cultural Differences
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I thought I'd offend my hosts at some point and there would be some sort of rift. There wasn’t in the least -- my family loved me like a son.
His thoughts on Cultural Differences
What struck me the most, seeing my home in a different light, was just how much stuff Americans had and how much space they had for all that stuff.
His thoughts on Coming Home
Everything I had been craving so badly while I was gone was the same as when I had left – there was no big celebration behind eating peanut butter, drinking American coffee or using a electric hand dryer again.
His thoughts on The Right Attitude
In Morocco, your taxi driver may speak one of any four languages – and you have to be ready that French might not be one of them. To me, the fun lies within this unpredictability!
His thoughts on First Impressions
I'd taken autumn for granted while I was home; I'd never even thought that it simply didn’t exist elsewhere in the world. When it was gone I had a surprising time adjusting.
Studied in India
SUNY: University at Albany
Her thoughts on The Application Process
At first I thought studying abroad would not be feasible because of the cost. But, to my surprise, there were plenty of study abroad programs that were extremely affordable.
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
I thought it was important to have an open mind in terms of location. Any country inhabited by human beings was fair game!
Her thoughts on First Impressions
The biggest surprise was the impact my presence had on those I encountered. They were extremely grateful for our service and excited to welcome us.
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
There were instances along the way where I really had to reach deep down inside for the courage to work through and finish the program – but never once did I think about giving up.
Her thoughts on Coming Home
I’ll never take my air conditioned home for granted again, because I spent 10 days building a simple, four-wall structure the size of my bedroom for a family of 10.
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
My life’s paradigm has been completely shifted for the better.
Her thoughts on Coming Home
I thought my biggest concern upon returning would be the jet lag. But that just goes to show how studying abroad changes a person!
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
In time you’ll realize that most people you encounter are more similar to you than they are different.
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
There will always be divides and differences between cultures, so we must accept them and look past them.
Her thoughts on Communicating Abroad
With the world becoming increasingly interconnected, it is important to develop cross-cultural skills.
Her thoughts on Communicating Abroad
It is somewhat disrespectful and pompous to assume that all other cultures are familiar with the ways of one's own. A respectful bond is the key to success in any interaction, especially a cross-cultural one. 
Studied in France
McMaster University
Her thoughts on Motivation
I am a self-proclaimed "Francophile", and for someone who is pursuing a double major in French and History, it made perfect sense to go to France and be immersed in all that I was learning about.
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
The French live at a slower pace and really take the time to enjoy life's simple pleasures. There isn't as much of an urgency to always hurry through the day.
Her thoughts on First Impressions
I found that a good way of coping my first month in Lyon was to run on autopilot and be task oriented. I was constantly checking things off my "to do" list.
Her thoughts on Language Learning
Actions, gestures, intonation, voice inflection, facial expressions, and body language play just as much of a role as the oral component.  
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
I would walk the length of the market and peruse the stalls, stopping every now and again to nibble a sample of cheese or saucisson.
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
Learn to laugh at yourself when the little things go awry - laughter is often the best remedy for an embarrassing situation.
Volunteered in Guatemala
University of British Columbia
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
Some of my fondest memories from my trip to Guatemala include the times I spent speaking with locals, playing with their children, and helping them prepare meals.
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
The locals I met not only opened my eyes to a new way of life but also provided me with insight on my own strengths and passions.
Studied in the USA
University of Waterloo
Her thoughts on Motivation
I felt that experiencing some of the environmental issues discussed in lectures first-hand would provide a much more enriching learning experience.
Her thoughts on The Application Process
It’s highly important to create a real picture of yourself so that instructors and organizers can match you with people who have similar personalities, as well as varied weaknesses and strengths.
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
Instead of spending time on the computer at home, I was looking for trails to hike and species to identify.
Her thoughts on Coming Home
Of course I missed my family and friends, but my experience was so enriching and eye opening, that I really would have been content to stay longer.
Interned in Germany
University of Waterloo
Her thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
Take as many language courses as possible before you go anywhere! Even if your job is in English, co-workers prefer speaking their mother tongue.
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
I grew so much as a person through my experience going abroad. You learn so much about yourself and what you are capable of doing.
Her thoughts on Language Learning
My German was good enough that by the time I got back from Germany, I was able to skip one German level, and I’m hoping that by the time I graduate, I’ll be fluent.
Interned in Uganda and Singapore
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Her thoughts on The Application Process
I think what made me successful was not only my previous work experience, but my determination. I didn’t let negative responses slow me down.
Her thoughts on Boosting Your Career
Being treated as a professional and knowledgeable in my field really made me feel confident in my work.
Her thoughts on The International Workplace
It was important to understand that how things were getting done was what was best for the people there, not what was best for me.
Her thoughts on Adaptation
Knowing that my loved ones were waiting for me and that I wasn’t going to be gone forever helped me get over the homesickness.
Studied in Sweden
SUNY: University at Albany
His thoughts on First Impressions
I felt embraced by the culture as well as the people. I felt like I belonged and that I could live there for the rest of my life.
His thoughts on Coming Home
It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Just realizing that time is winding down can be really depressing.
His thoughts on Coming Home
Once you arrive home, you jump back into your old life. It almost feels like the trip was just a fantasy or dream that might never even have happened.
His thoughts on Personal Growth
Even though I came home with no money and had to eat pasta every day, I can't stress how happy I was to have seen it all.
Volunteered in Bolivia
Her thoughts on Homestays
While staying with my host family, the housekeeper Petro became one of my closest and favorite friends. I felt privileged to have had the opportunity to become friends with such a beautiful soul!
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
My favorite festival was a guinea pig festival in Cochabamba. North America's beloved house pet is one of Bolivia’s edible delicacies!
Her thoughts on Communicating Abroad
Anyone trying to communicate in a different culture should try their best to “fake it till they make it.” Mimicking is the best way to learn.
Teaching Abroad in Korea
His thoughts on The International Workplace
As a foreigner, I'm at the bottom of the hierarchy chain. The good news is that I am flexible and quickly adapting to the culture. It's just how Korean society functions, and I'm along for the ride!
His thoughts on The Right Attitude
I consider myself a very adventurous eater, but I was put to the test when they served duck feet and octopus soup. I was a little intimidated, but I got over it and it wasn’t all that bad!
His thoughts on Motivation
What really kicked off my travel addiction was studying abroad in Prague. It was the single best experience of my entire life.
Study Abroad in Sweden
Her thoughts on The Application Process
I met with the exchange advisor very early on in order to figure out details and I even arranged meetings with the head of my department. Showing initiative early on was what set my application apart.
Her thoughts on First Impressions
I would often hear the Swedish students generalize about North America. It made me realize how easy it is to overgeneralize; each country has its own culture, political system, and people – which is easy to forget when it's just a color on a map!
Her thoughts on Boosting Your Career
I think that adaptability and flexibility are key skills to have in any career path. Not only did my experience translate into tangible skills like these, but employers really do look favourably on people who have some sort of international experience.
Her thoughts on Boosting Your Career
It's funny how often I run into someone who's been to Scandinavia, and we can instantly connect over it. It definitely serves as a great icebreaker when networking!
Interned in Cambodia
University of Ottawa
Her thoughts on The International Workplace
En apprenant à écouter mes collègues et en les observant lorsqu’ils discutaient entre eux, j’ai rapidement su adapter mon comportement et mon discours afin que tout le monde se sente plus à l’aise.
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
Cette expérience m’a donné plus confiance en moi-même et m’a montré que la persévérance et la motivation sont des qualités qui peuvent nous mener bien loin!
Her thoughts on The Application Process
Même si je n’avais pas le profil idéal pour mon poste, je me suis rendue jusqu’au bout du processus de sélection et j’ai été récompensée pour mes efforts.
Volunteered in Belize
Flagler College
Her thoughts on Homestays
My host mother was a stay-at-home mom, so I was fortunate enough to spend time with her, learning about her life and Belizean culture.
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
Keep an open mind and try everything at least once, whether it’s a new food, dance or excursion.
Her thoughts on Coming Home
My return was full of mixed emotions. On one hand, I was looking forward to seeing my family and friends; but I was sad to say goodbye to my host family.
Volunteered & Taught English in China
University of Ottawa
Her thoughts on Motivation
I was attracted to China because it is one of the most removed countries from Western society. I thought it would be enlightening to learn about a collectivist culture as opposed to the individualist Western model that I was raised in.
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
Group events were the most memorable because I was able to speak to the students outside the classroom hierarchy. I learned in-depth about their lives and built friendships that continue to this day online and off.
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
For my students, education was the only way to guarantee the survival of their families. This was in sharp contrast to my Western education, but it was yet another positive lesson that I learned abroad: when an individual succeeds through education, so does his community.
Taught English in China
His thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
I took a week-long course to get my TESOL certificate, had a contract lined up the following week, and within a month I was on a plane to Yangshuo!
His thoughts on Adaptation
The more a teacher assimilates into the local culture, the easier budgeting becomes!
His thoughts on The Right Attitude
By getting out and meeting people, exploring and becoming part of the culture you far more likely to enjoy it.
His thoughts on First Impressions
From day one I was treated like a professional and a friend. Everyone seemed thankful to have me here helping them become part of the global village.
His thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
I came to China with a return air ticket and $1,000 in the bank. But I spent my last couple of months at home living like a miser to become 100% debt free BEFORE leaving the country!
Studied in France
University of Waterloo
Her thoughts on Motivation
I saw a poster in a building one day and went in to talk to the exchange coordinator, and that's all it took to get me hooked.
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
It was not always easy, but the best way to look at things is to think “it's not weird, it's different”.
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
In France I learned to take time, enjoy a glass of wine, talk, and enjoy meals that lasted over an hour. At home, within 20 minutes we were cleaning up!
Her thoughts on Coming Home
One thing that really helped was getting my parents to read a part of MyWorldAbroad related to re-entry shock.
Traveled Abroad in Many Countries
Her thoughts on Motivation
I decided to tag along with my brother and 30 strangers as he traveled by van through 17 countries in little less than a month.
Her thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
The people make the trip. Disagreements are bound to arise if you are traveling with a large group in close proximity. Make sure you are traveling with friends who will be there for you through thick and thin.
Her thoughts on First Impressions
Once we crossed the Romanian border, it seemed like we had gone onto a whole different planet. There were horses in the streets transporting food and people, cows crossing the streets and walking on the sidewalks, as if it was totally normal. For us, it seemed like the twilight zone.
Her thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
Start saving up early, whether you are going on a road trip, backpacking or any other travel abroad, planning is a big step.
Traveled in the UK
SUNY: University at Albany
Her thoughts on Motivation
It was a first step for me in seeing how independent I could be in another country, because I hope to travel a lot more in the future.
Her thoughts on Adaptation
I expected traveling to London to be an easy transition for me because I assumed their culture was close to that of America. But you know what they say about those who assume!
Her thoughts on Communicating Abroad
I was careful to watch what they did and to mimic their gestures and speech in a way that was not mocking, but respectful.
Volunteered in Mexico
Her thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
The more effort you put into preparing yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and educationally, the better your experience will be.
Her thoughts on Homestays
One of the biggest differences was the emphasis on family life. It was nice to see my host family spend so much time together without worrying about cell phones or social media.
Her thoughts on First Impressions
The biggest surprise was the culture shock. It’s not that I didn’t expect it, but you can never really predict what the differences will be and how they will affect you.
Studied in New Zealand
Lebanon Valley College
Her thoughts on Boosting Your Career
I knew studying abroad would stand out on my résumé and give me a competitive edge when I started looking for work after graduation.
Her thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
Having a clear idea of why you want to go abroad and identifying possible challenges you may encounter will better prepare you for your experience abroad.
Her thoughts on Coming Home
My friend and I came home with NZ-inspired tattoos… which was a pretty big surprise – especially to our parents!
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
Surrounding yourself with locals is crucial in order to understand and adapt to a culture.
Volunteered in Nicaragua and the USA
Western
Her thoughts on Motivation
Volunteering locally is important, but being abroad allows you to absorb new environments and cultures, which is a bonus.
Her thoughts on The Application Process
I think what made me successful was how I put myself out there during the interviews, because that’s how you have to go about an experience abroad – you can’t hold back.
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
We learned to dance in the traditional style, which was just so different to what we do at home. It was a whole new type of social activity none of us had ever tried before!
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
When you go into the culture, don’t search for the differences and compare. Look for the similarities and appreciate the differences. Different never means worse or better.
Her thoughts on Coming Home
Each time, the return is harder, and the lessons stay longer. It’s just a gradual change. I’d say it kind of takes practice.
Studied in the UK
Stony Brook University
Her thoughts on The Application Process
Be yourself during the application process, definitely. Show the schools the passion you have for traveling and studying abroad. 
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
That is the nicest part of studying abroad: when the cultural differences you noticed when you arrived become normal to you.
Intern Abroad in China
University of Toronto
Her thoughts on Motivation
At the time, I wanted to learn Mandarin, as I knew that it would be an important language to have under my belt, especially since I knew I wanted to do business someday.
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
In Western countries, communication is a lot more direct and casual, whereas in China, it is more indirect and polite.
Her thoughts on The International Workplace
At the time, I wanted to learn Mandarin, as I knew that it would be an important language to have under my belt, especially since I knew I wanted to do business someday.
Learned a Language & Volunteered in Peru
San Diego State University
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
I knew that while having a friend to accompany me would have made it more comfortable, going by myself would make me stronger, and force me to interact with everyone that I encountered.
Her thoughts on Adaptation
If I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone, I’d never have discovered so many amazing places.
Her thoughts on The International Workplace
Sometimes I didn’t feel totally welcomed, but I knew that they probably had reservations about a young foreigner working in their hospital. I went out of my way to introduce myself and ask if I could help them.
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
Saying goodbye was very hard.  The experienced sparked my passion for international philanthropic travel and changed my life for the better. 
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
Nearly every day, there was a festival going on in the town square. I was blown away by their overwhelming national pride.
Studied & Learned a Language in Spain
CUNY: Hunter College
His thoughts on Taking It All In
For me, eating my way through a place's cuisine is the ideal way to understand its history and culture.
His thoughts on The Application Process
My only advice for completing the paperwork is to start early and keep an organized file of the applications, keeping checklists and staying aware of the deadlines.
His thoughts on Coming Home
I find myself still thinking about it constantly, several times every day. I'm legitimately obsessed.
His thoughts on The Right Attitude
Remember why you're studying abroad in the first place: to immerse yourself in a new culture and rhythm.
His thoughts on First Impressions
That first month abroad was like riding a euphoric wave of feeling liberated and suspended in the moment.
His thoughts on The Right Attitude
Traveling has affirmed my belief that it's paramount to disconnect from technology sometimes and allow the natural impact to seep in.
Work Abroad in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
ESG UQÁM Montreal
Her thoughts on The International Workplace
The best advice is to adapt yourself to your new environment, but also try to use your professional background to improve the business.
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
Social inequality was fierce and challenging. I focused on my job, and then before leaving, I donated.
Her thoughts on Communicating Abroad
I tend to speak fast. I learned to slow down. As a manager, you have to make sure your employees understand you. Modifying my communication was important.
Volunteered in Guatemala
Carleton University
Her thoughts on Boosting Your Career
My travels allow me to engage skill sets critical for the modern world but are rarely used in our day-to-day lives.
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
My volunteer work and experiences abroad have solidified for me that any future career I undertake needs to involve interacting with people.
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
As someone who struggles with insect-related phobias, I was surprised how easily we humans are able to overcome fears and hesitations during challenging experiences.
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
Being invited to partake in a sacred Mayan ceremony showed me the willingness of the local people to welcome newcomers. I'll carry those ideals of welcoming and inclusion forward with me throughout my life.
Traveled in Mozambique
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
His thoughts on Taking It All In
Cultural activities were very fulfilling because they allowed me to interact with nationals on a peer level. It temporarily took the attention away from my “American-ness.”
His thoughts on Adaptation
The goal is not to become a different person but maybe to talk openly about your differences and to find activities where your race and nationality are not the focus.
His thoughts on Coming Home
You feel as though your trip will only ever exist within you, which is simultaneously empowering and discouraging.
His thoughts on Coming Home
I miss not knowing exactly what each day would hold. I miss feeling like I was doing something important. I miss being in a place where I could meet a hundred new people in a day.
Interned & Learned a Language in Costa Rica
SUNY: University at Albany
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
When I would arrange to meet local friends I'd always be waiting for 10 to 30 minutes. Their lifestyle is just not as fast-paced as ours!
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes: it’s how you learn.
Her thoughts on The International Workplace
If something about your program isn’t fulfilling your expectations, take matters into your own hands!
Volunteered in Tanzania
SUNY: University at Albany
Her thoughts on The Application Process
It was a little overwhelming, but I was able to narrow my search when I really focused on what I wanted out of the experience.
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
At first there were aspects that I didn’t really like or agree with, but I kept an open mind. I think that’s the best way to overcome culture shock.
Her thoughts on First Impressions
It took me about a month to really start to understand, accept, and finally enjoy the culture.
Her thoughts on Communicating Abroad
In Tanzania I didn’t have my iPhone or laptop; and it was enjoyable not constantly being bombarded with emails, te1t messages, and phone calls!
Her thoughts on Homestays
I appreciate them so much for welcoming me into their home and making me feel like I was their own daughter.
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
I realized after the trip that I eventually want to find a job that involves traveling. I really want to see and e1plore other parts of the world!
Study Abroad in Ireland
Carleton University
Her thoughts on Motivation
I never really thought I would have the courage to go, but after choosing to go to university in my hometown and keeping the same routine for years, I felt like I needed a big change in my life.
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
As cliché as it sounds, say yes to everything. Opportunities will arise that you may be nervous about, but as long as they are safe, never turn them down!
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
I also discovered how peaceful and carefree traveling alone can be. Being completely self-reliant gave me added confidence for my following trips.
Study Abroad in Australia
Carleton University
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
Work hard so you can travel on your spare weekends. Traveling and school-based learning go hand-in-hand when you're abroad.
Her thoughts on Boosting Your Career
Learning abroad is important to me, and I believe it helps develop important skills for aspiring and practicing architects.
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
Because of my local friends, I was able to get the insider's perspective on Adelaide and its culture.
Her thoughts on Boosting Your Career
Networking is important for building future clients, and I made lots of connections. My network now stretches across America, Brazil, Germany, Netherlands, England, Thailand and Australia.
Volunteered in India
St. Ambrose University
Her thoughts on Motivation
I wanted to go somewhere that would make me step out of my comfort zone. I needed to prove to myself that I could be independent.
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
I was so impressed by how these children saw what was truly important. It showed me how much people living in poverty value everything they have – especially basic items that we simply take for granted.
Her thoughts on First Impressions
Many people stared at us even though we were covered head to toe in their traditional clothing, trying to show our respect, and attempting to blend in.
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
It absolutely astounded me that a family with so little would give up the few resources that they had for strangers. This generosity was seen again and again with the people of Vrindavan.
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
My time abroad proved to me that I really can be independent, and I don’t think many other experiences could have done that for me.
Interned in Peru
University of Waterloo
Her thoughts on The Application Process
I just had to be truthful, and really figure out what I wanted to get out of the experience.
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
One thing I noticed was that timing didn’t seem to matter to locals. Things would start late, and you always seemed to end up eating REALLY late!
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
When I arrived in Peru my Spanish was not excellent, but I wasn't afraid to try, and speak, and make mistakes, and keep trying.
Her thoughts on Communicating Abroad
Learning how to adapt your body language, vocabulary and tone of voice is key to good cross-cultural communication.
Interned in Ghana
University of Waterloo
Her thoughts on The International Workplace
I wanted to work at a small organization because it’s the best way to get a lot of responsibility and the most field work. A lot of larger organizations offered administrative desk jobs, but I knew I wanted to be in the field.
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
While Ghana is very professional and is becoming more developed, many cultural factors (like religion and household seniority) play major factors in the workplace.
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
As a woman, if I wanted to help out with carrying things or running an errand, an unwilling male would be encouraged to instead.
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
Don’t be afraid! Don’t feel left out. Don’t be a foreigner. Learn the language. Be a local.
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
Entering another country means you must adjust to their way or living, not the other way around.

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