Before Sunrise is a film about an American man (Ethan Hawke) and a French woman (Julie Delpy) who meet on a train and spend a night walking around Vienna together. Before Sunset meets up with the same characters nine years later, and the new film Before Midnight will pick up another nine years later.
The organization I went through, Youth for Understanding (YFU) tried to teach us how to make our travels successful. We went through a pre-departure orientation, an arrival orientation, and even an orientation at the end of our trip– let me just say I’ve had enough icebreakers to last a lifetime. They offered some advice, which I offer to you now. Not all exchange students have the luxury of being over-orientated like I was, so they have nothing to dispel their worries.
Studying abroad is a life-changing experience and every study abroad story deserves a spotlight!
Welcome to Study Abroad Spotlight, a website designed for study abroad alumni, parents and education abroad professionals to share their study abroad stories with the world! Our mission is to inspire all students around the world to study abroad, reassure parents that they are making the right decision sending their son or daughter abroad, provide a place for study abroad alumni to showcase their experience abroad to potential employers by including a link to their spotlight on their resume and give everyone a better understanding of what it’s like to work in the field of international education.
Submit your story here to inspire other students! Mine is already up here.
Do you know someone about to leave for or return from a study abroad experience? Writing and photography are great ways to capture the experience, as well as a way to work through reverse culture shock by sharing the experience with others. These guides would make great gifts for a study abroad student!
My friends frequently ask questions about my wardrobe here in Qatar. There tend to be some misconceptions regarding what the general population wears. For instance, I am repeatedly asked if I must wear a headscarf or even a burqa. The answer is no.
There are, however, some important things to remember regarding clothing when traveling or living in the Middle East. Here are a few tips for anyone visiting or studying in the Middle East:
Dressing like the locals is a good way to avoid attracting the attention of thieves and scam artists! Check out this article on how to dress in Qatar.
Most travel books are written by experienced travelers who enjoy seeing and experiencing new things, so this is a change: a travel book by a reluctant traveler. Karl Pilkington, the “Idiot” of the title, is sent to see seven wonders of the modern world by his somewhat sadistic friends Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant (creators of The Office) precisely because he hasn’t traveled much, and doesn’t like to travel. While experienced travelers like Michael Palin or Rick Steves (I kept getting hung up on Karl having been sent by friends named Ricky and Steve) extol the virtues of all the places they visit, Karl’s reactions are probably more in line with those of everyday folks. They mostly revolve around toilet facilities available in the countries he visits. The book accompanies an Idiot AbroadTV series, which I have not yet seen.
Living with a host family while studying abroad contributes untold value and learning to your immersion experience. You can learn about everything like local customs, popular food, cultural differences, and so much more from them. But a host family is not just a person or group of people who have an extra room available; they are willing to open their lives to you for the duration of your stay. Here are some etiquette tips for showing them gratitude and respect as well as learning about their culture.
I remember being scared that I would make a bad impression on my host family and give them a terrible impression of U.S. college students… until I found out they’d been hosting for the past ten years and had seen EVERYTHING before I got there. That took a lot of the pressure off!
Advice to someone who’s thinking about travelling outside the country:
Be respectful of the new culture you’re getting to know, don’t expect to find a McDonalds everywhere you go, try and learn the language of the country you’re visiting, keep your eyes wide open, and, if you’re not Peruvian, feel free to visit my country: You’ll be more than welcome in Peru.
If you’re considering studying abroad, I have one suggestion for you: go for a full year.
I know, 4-5 months sounds like a long time and you couldn’t possibly need more than one semester away from home, right? But if you’re anything like me, you will spend every day following in regret. I have been home for months now and every single day I wake up and I feel the same.
I didn’t give myself enough time there and I have never regretted something more.
I’ve heard plenty of people wish they’d extended their stay, but no one’s ever told me, “I wish I hadn’t studied abroad as long as I did.”
Day 15: Advice to someone who’s thinking about traveling to another country
DO IT. The most rewarding experiences I’ve had have been when I’ve been able to travel to another country. Figure out where you want to go and go! Don’t wait necessarily for someone else to be able to go with you. Follow your dreams, save up the money, get on the plane, and get ready for an experience of a lifetime.
There’s a lot more great advice in the rest of this post!
I remember living in awe of everything around me for five months. Each day was new, exciting and different. I have no regrets about my time abroad. However, as I look back, there are certain things that I would have done differently.
In this article, a study abroad alum talks about what she would have done differently. Learn from her experience!
Expect the unexpected! Also, don’t plan. If you must, only plan the major things but really, the best trips are the ones you don’t plan. Also, get to know the locals, that is how you learn the best experiences and places. I guess that’s it! Go enjoy the world!