Stories From Abroad

 

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Stories From Abroad (92)

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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

92
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(2)
1736
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Asia (27)
1735
4
Australia, New Zealand & Oceania (4)
1888
1
Central America & the Caribbean (1)
1734
3
Eastern Europe & Russia (3)
1737
3
Middle East & North Africa (3)
1731
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North America (includes Mexico) (6)
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South America (9)
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Sub-Saharan Africa (12)
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Western Europe (31)
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Build Experience in School (1)
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Intern Abroad (13)
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Learn A Language Abroad (6)
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Study Abroad (34)
2103
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Teach English Abroad (16)
2104
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Travel Smarts (7)
2239
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Virtual International Internships (13)
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Volunteer Abroad (15)
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Work Abroad (6)
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Working Holiday (5)
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Getting Settled In Seoul
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10258
Encountering Cultures Across Europe
52
9772
Learning To Go With The Flow In France
53
10218
Adaptation And Appreciation In Japan
54
9786
Kids And Culture In Korea
55
9748
Adventure In The Alps
56
9744
Food, Fun And Festivals In Germany
57
9747
Fun And Friends In The Netherlands
58
9750
Host Hospitality In Morocco
59
9754
Building Memories In India
60
9752
Giving In Guatemala
61
9775
A Year Of Feeling French
62
9777
Into The Wild In Alaska
63
9812
Caring And Career Skills In Belize
64
10157
Changing Course In China
65
9740
Sports, Study And Fun In France
66
9778
Study And Adventure In New Zealand
67
9755
People, Places And Passionate Volunteering In Peru
68
9738
Living For The Moment In Valencia
69
11850
The Warmest Welcome in Guatemala
70
9783
Off The Beaten Path In Africa
71
9757
Teaching And Learning In Tanzania
72
9789
Loving Life In Lyon
73
9774
Gaga For Ghana!
74
9745
An Unforgettable Adventure In Nanjing
75
9792
Rolling With The Punches In Seoul
76
10188
Now Or Never In Colombia
77
11904
Enthusiasm, Education and Experience in Greece
78
9790
Design And Dining In Korea
79
10163
English Teaching In Eastern Europe
80
9768
Going Solo In Spain!
81
14483
Finding Home, By Teaching Abroad
82
9743
Hooked On Volunteering!
83
10153
China, South Africa And Beyond!
84
9751
A Canadian Globe-Trotter Visits The US
85
10192
Out And About In Paris
86
9780
A Year In Marvelous Mexico!
87
9761
Communicating Creatively In Spain
88
9782
Making The Most Of Milano
89
9756
Springtime In Spain
90
9763
A Professional Visit To Vietnam
91
10143
A Warm Welcome In Mexico
92
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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.
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 & 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. 
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Studied in France
Carleton University
Her thoughts on Motivation
Studying international business was a good reason to go abroad and experience how globalization has affected the business world.
Her thoughts on The Application Process
The visa application process is long and confusing. There was definitely a lot of confusion along the way. But don't be discouraged; it's completely doable.
Her thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
Read a lot! Read about the history, culture, and people of the city you're planning on staying in. Gather as much information as you possibly can.
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
Through Facebook I signed up for a few exchange student groups in my host cities, which allowed me to participate in events they organized and get to know a lot of people.
Her thoughts on Language Learning
The big success for me was the fact that my language skills improved tremendously. I came to Lyon barely being able to keep up with a conversation and left being able to speak with ease.
Her thoughts on Boosting Your Career
During my stay I was able to network a lot and meet not only other students, but also professionals.
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
My travels also improved my communication skills, my cultural understanding, independence, leadership skills, and helped me develop a thicker skin.
Studied in Ghana
SUNY: University at Albany
Her thoughts on Motivation
Since I was a little girl, my dream has been to travel the world. I've always wanted to fill my passport and have stamps from countries in all seven continents.
Her thoughts on Coming Home
All I could talk about was Ghana: how much I had fallen in love with the country, and how much I wanted to go back, this time to do humanitarian work and be a volunteer
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
The second I walked in to a slave castle and could really smell Ghana's past, it hit me: that's when I truly realized “Wow Sylvia, we're in Ghana.”
Her thoughts on Coming Home
Ghana had become a part of me – as cliché as that may sound. I had learned so much and had so much fun that I wanted to stay forever.
Her thoughts on Boosting Your Career
Witnessing great poverty in Africa made me want to help in the progress of a Third World country. Ghana changed my life, and helped me find my career path. 
Studied in China
Stony Brook University
Her thoughts on Motivation
A million miles away from my family, in a foreign land, with a language that is 100% different from English? Sounds like an adventure to me!
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
If you looked at students from a distance, you could tell which were Americans from far away!
Her thoughts on The Application Process
Don’t be afraid to call the people in charge of a program to bombard them with questions: it will help narrow down your options and find the best one.
Taught English in South Korea
Wilfrid Laurier
Her thoughts on Motivation
The decision to leave my family and country for a year was just the ticket my mind and soul needed to adjust to a career lifestyle.
Her thoughts on The Application Process
The key to finding a job online is to be available to talk at almost any time. In some cases, if you don't respond to a recruiter within a day, they will move on.
Her thoughts on First Impressions
It is my eighth month here in Seoul, but if you asked me in my first month whether I thought I would still be here now, I would have said no.
Volunteered & Taught English in Colombia
Her thoughts on The Application Process
I poured over the Internet. Searching for the perfect organization became my second job. Knowing exactly what I wanted from a program made it easy for me to sort through all the organizations out there.
Her thoughts on Communicating Abroad
I got to know so many people just through body language. I learned that I could follow a conversation through gestures, facial expressions and tone.
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
Living in a different culture for such a long time changes your perception, which was apparent on my return home. I looked at everything differently and challenged the things that I considered normal.
Studied & Volunteered in Greece
University of Wisconsin: Oshkosh
Her thoughts on Boosting Your Career
I wanted to find a trip that would create meaning for my major, and help with my goals. I knew that as a future educator, this could be incredibly beneficial for my career.
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
It’s important to have a go-with-the-flow attitude, and to be able to adjust when plans might not always go the best they can.
Her thoughts on Communicating Abroad
It was such an empowering experience to actually get through to someone who speaks an entirely different language than you, and for you actually to understand each other.
Her thoughts on The Application Process
I started almost a year in advance. By starting early, the process seemed more exciting than stressful, because you are getting ready at your own pace and building towards a remarkable trip!
Studied in South Korea
University of Wisconsin: Oshkosh
Her thoughts on Motivation
Studying in South Korea had always been a personal goal, so when my school finally offered the program, I knew I had to sign up.
Her thoughts on The Application Process
I really wanted to make sure that the application went smoothly. I never doubted myself and I was never negative about all the work I had to put in.
Her thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
I took out a loan and worked a lot before I left. I made sure to save money from each paycheck to put into my Korea fund.
Taught English in Georgia
Flagler College
Her thoughts on Motivation
I wanted to teach English abroad to build my resume, travel and immerse myself in a unique culture.
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
The soccer club was a great opportunity for me to get to know my students better and help them build skills.
Her thoughts on Homestays
I developed a close relationship with my Georgian family and remain in contact with them through email and Skype.
Studied in Spain
University of Evansville
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
Instead of looking at it as something that would take me away from the familiar, I decided to view it as an adventure that I was fortunate to experience.
Her thoughts on First Impressions
All of a sudden I wasn't having fun any more. I was awakening from the dreamy version of studying abroad, and what I saw when I finally opened my eyes was the plain truth. 
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
My experience turned out to be a success because I made it my own, and I grew to accept the city's flaws along with its charms.
Her thoughts on Coming Home
I was apprehensive about returning because I had learned so much and wanted others to recognize that I had changed.
Teach Abroad in Hong Kong
His thoughts on Cultural Differences
I like knowing I've lived in a place where things are done very differently, and everything still functions.
His thoughts on The International Workplace
Respect the way they run their classrooms abroad. And try to fit in.
His thoughts on Personal Growth
Simply put: When I'm teaching abroad, I feel at home.
Volunteered in Guatemala & Peru
College of Saint Elizabeth
Her thoughts on Motivation
I am originally from Guyana. Growing up in a Third World country gave me a real insight into how hard things can be. Now I want to give back as much as I can.
Her thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
There are no excuses! If you have a burning desire to serve, you can make it happen.
Her thoughts on Homestays
Going with my volunteer program, we stayed in a local host home and ate traditional cuisine three times a day. This approach to going abroad made me feel like I was much more a part of the culture than I would have been staying at a hotel.
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
At the end of the day, we have more in common than we think! It was fun to celebrate the similarities and recognize the differences.
Her thoughts on Coming Home
Sometimes students psych themselves up too much, anticipating a tough transition. Be flexible, patient and write down everything you remember from your trip.
Her thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
Plan early and be up-front about your goals with your academic advisors.
Studied in the USA
Mount Royal University
Her thoughts on Boosting Your Career
My exchanges helped give me clarity on my educational path. I really believe that when I look back on my years as a student, it will be my exchanges that stand out.
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
My study abroad term resulted in a little longer in school to complete degree requirements, but I wouldn't have it any other way!
Studied in France
Indiana University Bloomington
Her thoughts on Homestays
To stay on track and not go over the amount I had from the loan, I chose the homestay option. It allowed me to save money on food and practice more French.
Her thoughts on Homestays
I found that the homestay portion was imperative to improving my French. My host parents did not speak English, so this forced me to use my French skills.
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
Everything is a challenge when you are somewhere new that you've never been before – but an exciting challenge!
Studied & Learned a Language in Mexico
University of British Columbia
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
Volunteering at a local primary school for blind children was a good challenge to my Spanish language skills and gave me an opportunity to step outside the upper-class world I was living in. 
Her thoughts on Language Learning
If you're going on exchange to learn a language, make a point of speaking it from the time you arrive. If you fall into the trap of speaking English, you'll never get comfortable in the host language.
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
The Day of the Dead celebration made a real impact on me. It was wonderful to see people building shrines around their loved ones' graves rather than carving jack-o-lanterns to scare away spirits.
Studied & Learned a Language in Spain
SUNY: Oneonta
Her thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
It's important to prepare yourself for the shock of being in a culture that's completely different from your own.
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
Although Spanish culture is different from American culture, it doesn't mean that either one is wrong or right. They are each unique.
Her thoughts on Motivation
I wasn't making as much progress in Spanish class as I thought I should have been, so the best option for me was to become fully immersed in the culture – where I'd have no choice but to communicate in Spanish!
Studied in Italy
College of William and Mary
His thoughts on Motivation
I didn't make the final decision to go until two of my friends returned from their years abroad. I couldn't resist their stories!
His thoughts on First Impressions
At first, I was constantly excited; everything was so new and Italian. Every street was magnificent, every person European, every piece of clothing beautiful.
His thoughts on Adaptation
At some point in June, I had a moment of pristine clarity: I was no longer the naïve, awkward American boy I had been when I arrived in September.
His thoughts on Adaptation
Somehow I had integrated myself into the culture. And after months of freezing weather and many hardships, I had emerged a new person.
His thoughts on Language Learning
I studied hard. I completed a grammar workbook, I studied a dictionary and a book of verb conjugations, I listened to music, I read short novels, and I begged classmates to speak to me!
His thoughts on Coming Home
They acted as if I had never left, even though I was bursting with excitement about my year in Italy. I wanted to tell them EVERYTHING, but they couldn't have been less interested.
Studied in Spain
Lebanon Valley College
Her thoughts on Homestays
What surprised me the most about my time abroad was the home-stay component. It had been the part that, at first, worried me the most, but it ended up being the most rewarding.
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
What do you need? The three c's: confidence, creativity, and comfy shoes!
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
I was always greeted with friendly kisses on the cheek and hugs. This was unusual to me at first, coming from America where our typical greeting is a handshake.
Her thoughts on Coming Home
All good things must come to end, but for now I have the photos and the memories to reflect on.
Worked in Vietnam
University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
His thoughts on Boosting Your Career
Talking with other foreigners gave me insider advice on how foreign job searches are conducted.
His thoughts on The Right Attitude
Have confidence! There really is no reason to be shy with superiors or strangers.
His thoughts on Cultural Differences
In most cities in Asia, you're constantly surrounded by people, severely limiting your "me time".
His thoughts on Boosting Your Career
Network as much as you can so that when you do look for a serious job, the transition is more seamless and you know where the opportunities are.
Volunteered in Mexico
St. Ambrose University
Her thoughts on Motivation
I absolutely love helping others. I’m very involved in a variety of volunteer experiences at home and I wanted to continue with this type of work while I was abroad.
Her thoughts on Coming Home
I felt like my time abroad had gone by so fast. It was a dream that I wanted to keep dreaming.
Her thoughts on Language Learning
By putting myself out of my comfort zone I was forced to speak the language. After my experience, I feel that studying abroad is one of the very best ways to learn a language.
Her thoughts on Adaptation
I always made sure to respect the different cultural values held by the locals: eating when and what they ate, greeting the way they did, and wearing the same types of clothes.

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