– Post by Tosin A
To Study Abroad or not to Study Abroad?
That was ‘The Question’ I was faced with. To which the answer was a resounding YES! The best year of my life, so far, was spent studying abroad in California. The decision to leave dreary old England for greater pastures was the easiest decision of my life. My 1st year of University didn’t quite live up to my expectations so I didn’t give it a second thought. The prospect of living and studying amongst Americans was one that had never really crossed my mind but as soon as I was presented with the opportunity to do so I took it, ran with it and never looked back.
The process was pretty much straightforward – with A LOT of help from my uni’s Study Abroad office. I had to choose the institution I wanted to study at; make sure I achieved good grades; apply for my visa and book my flight. Within six months I was ready to pack up and leave *BBM smiley face*
Admittedly, the first semester was a testing period. I won’t sugar-coat it, it was hard! I was homesick, missing my family and friends tremendously, craving Nandos and Supermalt 24/7, missing Eastenders and Hollyoaks, missing Topshop. Basically missing, MY WHOLE LIFE back home. Although there were many fun times had in my 1st semester it was until the 2nd semester that the fun truly began.
In order to enjoy myself and not waste this amazing opportunity I promised myself that I would be open to most things and try and shake off the British mentality I went out there with. I’m sure a lot of people would agree that here in England especially London, we aren’t very polite as a people and I found that this was hindering my experience. Californians were generally very friendly people so I thought to myself “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” – apply this mentality wherever you decide to travel to. If someone said “Hi” to me, instead of making a face or just outright ignoring them I began responding with at least a smile…sometimes even a “Hi” (if he was cutey lol).
I met some amazing people who, till this day ,I still regard as great friends. I travelled up and down California, visiting new places and meeting new people. My experience was without a shadow of a doubt EPIC! I only wish that I hadn’t been so homesick in the beginning.
In a nut shell, If you’re given the opportunity to spend a , GO FOR IT!
Dos and Don’ts for Studying Abroad
DO arrive with an open mind
DO make friends (with cars)- Trust me it will make life a lot easier
DON’T worry about money- see it as investing in your future but don’t splash all your cash in your 1st week!
DO research the weather prior to arriving
DON’T forget to actually STUDY- don’t assume classes will be similar to ones back home
DO work hard, but play HARDER
DON’T endanger yourself- be smart and keep your wits about you
DO travel as much as you can within your country of study
DO encourage friends to visit you- preferably towards the end so you can use their luggage allowance 😀
DO open a bank account (if possible)- It was much easier to open an account in the US than in England *confused face*
DON’T waste time being homesick- before you know it, it will be home time and you’ll wish you did more!
- When in Rome: Study-abroad students increase alcohol intake (esciencenews.com)
- New Online Store Supports Study Abroad Financial Aid and Scholarships (prweb.com)
- Study abroad key to Japan’s future (search.japantimes.co.jp)