After and during my study abroad last year, I was bombarded with questions–and I loved it! If helping people understand why and how they can study abroad will help them do it, by all means ask me questions for days. Here are some of your common questions, answered.
1. Why study abroad?
Personally, I always knew I wanted to study abroad–it simply seemed appealing to me. Studying abroad allows you as a student to take advantage of being a student! Many things involving travel are cheaper as a student, and there are many, many scholarships exclusively for study abroad! You’re also pretty free at this age, you know? Yeah, you have a family and friends and relationships and all that…but chances are you aren’t married with 3 kids, a dog, a home and a full time career. Once you have all of that someday, running off to live in Denmark for 4 months becomes a little less realistic. A great reason for participating in a study abroad ( rather than just planning an extended trip / vacation yourself ) is that working through a university / with a third party provider becomes much more inexpensive due to scholarships and group rates. Even if you’re opposed to the idea of doing an “organized” study abroad, explore your options and the different providers out there–I bet you can find the right one for you!
2. Can/did you work while studying abroad? How do you find a job?
You totally can! Depending on where you are studying, look into work permits / visas. Here’s what I did in Prague: I saw a flyer at my school for someone looking for a babysitter. I was like “hey, I babysit!”–so I called. She was so excited that someone was interested and I started the next week! I got paid a little bit ( enough to fund my weekly shenanigans ), AND I got to practice my Czech. I babysat a 7 year old boy a few times a week after school–he knew Czech and English, but just needed to practice his conversational English skills. Having me there forced him to use his English and figure it out, and forced me to use the little Czech I had in my arsenal to help us communicate. It was such an awesome experience and one of my favorite memories! I remember seeing his eyes light up when I started singing a Czech nursery rhyme called Holka Moldrooka that I had learned in my elementary Czech class–something we could both understand and have fun with! So, that’s how I found my job in Prague. I would recommend asking around at whatever university you are attending–they can normally help you out! Use your common sense and don’t get yourself into a sticky situation.
3. Didn’t you get homesick?
I was worried about this before I left, but honestly didn’t experience homesickness as much as I though I would. There is always so much going on and I was always busied by the enchanting city that is Prague. Whenever I did find myself feeling homesick, I tried to remember that I wouldn’t be in Prague much longer and that instead of being sad about not being home I should probably live it up here while I can–“be where your feet are”! There are countless ways to stay in touch with your friends and family and feel connected to home. Don’t let yourself get caught up in being homesick–it will detract from your overall experience abroad!
4. What’s your biggest take away from studying abroad?
Studying abroad helped me know a part of myself I don’t think I would have otherwise. Living in a foreign country by myself for 4 months pushed me out of my comfort zone and I experienced first hand that life really does start at the end of your comfort zone. Exploring and adventuring and just being alone taught me to appreciate those moments and now I crave more of them. Seeing new corners of the world taught me how small I am and how much more I have to see and feel. Walking on ancient ground helped me to appreciate all sorts of beauty. Ahhh, the list of ways that my trip changed me is never-ending, truly. Just go, please just go and find out for yourself.
These are just a handful of basic questions I have been asked about my trip. If you are contemplating a study abroad or a big trip, I hope these answers helped to assure you that you should definitely just GO! Happy travels!