Nowadays, it is easier than ever to leave for a semester abroad. If you are in high school, college or university, there are probably a few exchange programs available to you right now. Whether they involve volunteering or studying in another country, there are plenty of options to choose from. However, the hard part is taking the big step and signing up for it. Should you do it? Here are 3 things you need to know before going abroad for one semester.
1. There is a ton of paperwork involved
Although traveling to another country is easier than it used to be, you still have to have some time on your hands, so you can take care of the necessary documentation. The exact amount of paperwork you need to see before leaving depends on the country you are headed to and the program you have picked.
If you plan on studying there, you will have to draw up a contract with the institution you have chosen. Additionally, upon returning from your semester abroad, you will have to provide your home institution with a certificate of equivalency or take the exams you have missed.
2. Cultural shock is real
So you have taken care of all the paperwork, the hard part is over, and now you have reached your destination. However, it is not what you had in mind. You feel like you have stepped into a different world. We sometimes tend to underestimate the cultural differences existing between countries. They are real and sometimes fairly hard to overcome.
This is why you need to learn the customs of the country you are headed to in advance, try to be easygoing when you arrive, and befriend as many locals as you can. Only they can teach you the do’s and don’ts and help you break the language barrier.
3. A semester abroad means reaching out
This brings me to my last piece of advice. A semester abroad can be one of the most magical times of your life. To make the most of it, you need to stretch out your hands and grab all that’s coming your way.
Try to visit as many places, get to know as many people as you can, and never hesitate to take up an interesting opportunity. Go with your gut, it is your best friend. Following it will lead to unforgettable adventures and long-lasting bonds. To sum up, muster up all the courage you can and take a step forward whenever the chance arises. You will not regret it.