What to avoid when traveling abroad.

What to Avoid During a Semester Abroad

  • Travel Team
Jan 12, 2012

Students from all backgrounds, cultures and cities participate in study abroad programs during college. An experience abroad allows students to gain knowledge of new cultures and traditions. Some people have been looking forward to studying abroad since they were young, and others may to decide to spend a semester overseas after a year in college. While each student has different wants and needs when choosing a study abroad destination, there are certain pitfalls that students should avoid during this adventure of a lifetime.

One of the immeasurable benefits of a semester abroad is the knowledge people can gain from immersing themselves in another culture. A stay in another country is an adventure that can be intimidating. Some people are venturing to a foreign place for the first time and have no idea what to expect.

The first few weeks in the foreign place can be a major adjustment for students. Making new friends, sightseeing and tasting new cuisine is exciting at first, but many students experience culture shock at the beginning of their stay. Sometimes, all of these new things happening at once can seem scary or uncomfortable. If students know to expect some of these feelings, they can work to minimize the discomfort of culture shock.

A group of other Americans can add comfort and stability to the students' lifestyle, but this can quickly transform into an excuse to only speak English and surround themselves with the American culture. This is a common mistake made by people abroad looking to be comfortable as quickly as possible. Studying in a foreign speaking country can be intimidating, but that is part of the adventure. Becoming fluent in another language doesn't happen without effort. Spending time with only American students could greatly change the experience and subtract from the cultural benefits of a trip abroad.

Foreign cultures can also give students the opportunity to see a completely different nightlife than they are used to. While this can be exciting, it is important to remember the time abroad shouldn't just be about endless parties. Students need to appreciate cultural traditions as much as the after-dark excitement.

Student health insurance is vital for a semester away from home. Being prepared with the right insurance can make your time abroad less stressful, and allow you to enjoy the experience to its fullest.


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