Tuesday, April 25, 2017

5 Critical Tips for Studying Abroad

My junior year in college is almost over. I had lots of big positive changes that improved my studying abroad experience. I would like to share 5 tips that were critical in my American college life.

1. Professors are always there for you.

Going to college abroad is very scary because you have to take classes in your second or third language and you are away from your home. What if I don't understand what professor is saying? What if I don't hear of an assignment? What if there is a group project? Don't worry. Professors love getting questions and would like to help you. I have never seen any professor who was not willing to help international student. Too worried about taking a class in English? Ask your professor if it's okay to record the lecture, or at least let your professor know you are an international student who will  need lots of help. (But make sure you read the syllabus thoroughly before ask!)

2. Make local friends

This will help you improving your language the most. Once you make local friends, you will speak mostly English throughout the day and learn what Americans say in real life unlike textbook. The more you speak English, the more you get used to listening and speaking it. Then, it will eventually become your language. You will start think and dream in English. In addition to that, making local friends means you are having YOUR people around you.

3. Don't be shy/afraid

This is Asian's endemic problem. I struggled with this so much. Until my sophomore year, I never said a word in class. Nobody cared if I was in class with them. Even one of my professors pronounced my name wrong for the whole semester. I was just a extremely shy, typical Asian girl who looks like she doesn't speak English at all. I tried not to be shy so many times but what do I do? That's how I grew up. So I decided to USE my shyness. I was always the only Asian girl in my classes, and realized that shy Asian girl is my positioning. To build that image, I had to talk and get involved more. But I showed people my shyness. Eventually, people came and talk to me first and became interested in me and my culture. Indeed, people has become more generous and nicer to my mistakes! So if shyness is your weakness, turn it into your uniqueness.

4. Fabulous 4

Studying abroad is a hard experience both physically and mentally. Homesickness and loneliness will continuously make you depressed. You won't be eating well like when you had your home food. Whole new different environment your keep making you sick. Here's what I did called "Fabulous 4."

- Sleep 8 hours
- Eat nutritious food
- Exercise at least 30 minutes
- Meaningful interaction with others

It looks pretty simple but actually really hard to do it everyday. Since you are studying in foreign language, you need to study harder than others so always running out of time. Of course, it's hard to make time for sleep, exercise or interaction with others. Moreover, there are so many junk food in America.

5. Always ask ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

It's very hard to understand what people say when you are a newbie here. People talk too fast and use lots of slang. Asians, especially, tend to act like they understood even if they didn't. This is the BIGGEST mistake in studying abroad. I know it's embarrassing to ask people what they are saying. But please please make sure ask again or ask them to slow down. Otherwise, you will never learn that expression until you ask. Most people will say it again or even explain what they said unless they are in hurry.

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