How Study Abroad Changed Me

This summer, I got to accomplish something on my bucket list, and that was going to Paris! I've dreamed of visiting Paris for as long as I could remember and I got to do it in the best way by studying abroad. Studying abroad allows you to not only visit beautiful places but to be immersed in the culture while getting course credits, it's the best of both worlds. Last school year, I felt burned out, and I needed a change of pace, and that's when I started looking into study abroad programs. At first, I was terrified to study overseas because the only time I've ever been out the country was to Jamaica on a family trip and now I was going to be on my own for five weeks in Europe. I was also anxious because I didn't know any of the people going; however, I took a chance and it was the best thing I've ever done for myself! While in Paris, I met some of the best people, made memories that I'll never forget and was able to be immersed in their beautiful culture. I've learned that Parisians value life so much there and take the time to relax, and spend quality time with their family. Surprisingly, I also learned way more about myself than I ever thought I would. I learned to take life slower and appreciate things more and that it's okay to make mistakes because they end up leading you in the right direction. Studying abroad really changed my life for the better, and I hope that everyone gets to experience it at some point in their college career. Here are some tips that helped me find a great program and somethings I wish I knew before I left.

 

Finding the Money

           We all know that studying abroad can be very costly, but there are so many ways to find money in time to go. Luckily, Kennesaw State University has a scholarship called the Global Learning Scholarship which gives students $1,000 just for applying, but this is the last year they are offering it so go ahead and take that leap while the money is still there! There are also so many other scholarships you can apply for online. If you can paint, make clothes, bake, etc. make money from that. You can also, reach out to family members and ask if they'd like to donate to your study abroad fund! I'm sure they would love to help out because they know how life-changing the experience can be for you!

 

Choosing the Right Program

           Finding the study abroad program that is right for you is an essential part of the whole experience. The best way to get the most out of your experience is to find a place you think you would have a great time exploring for several weeks or months! The Education Abroad office is a great tool to use as they help match the study abroad program you are interested in with the requirements for your major!  All you have to do is take a quick visit to their office, and they'll help you with everything! From choosing a country to visit, picking out classes, and discussing any anxieties and questions you have too!

 

Making a Bucket List

           If I learned one thing while being in Paris, it is that time goes super-fast when you're having a great time and exploring. All of a sudden it was week five and I had to visit every place I wanted to visit within a week. If you're thinking about studying abroad or even just traveling, I would recommend making a list of all the places you want to visit. That way, you can keep track of the places you've gone, and also gauge how much time you have left to experience everything on your list!

 

Keeping an Open Mind

           When you study abroad, it's imperative to keep an open mind, that's how you're going to get the most out of your experience. Every country has its own culture, and not one culture is better than the other. Depending on what country you go to, there might be a language barrier or certain things that are different than in America. It is important not to judge any culture but instead observe because you might learn something new that you could incorporate into your own life!