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What Is It Like To Study Abroad and How Do I Prepare?

Hi, my name is Leyah! I am a mentor at the IWC and the writer of the IWC blog! As you know, at the IWC we help students to prepare for their exchange, so I thought I would share my thoughts and give some advice about studying abroad.

Studying abroad is a new and exciting experience. It’s a big step and for some of you it might be your first time going abroad, so it takes a lot of courage. There are so many things to consider when you study abroad, for example getting your visa and applying for your accommodation. Although these things can be quite stressful, it makes you more excited because you are a step closer to studying in the country of your choice. When I was preparing to come to Korea to study at KNU, I really struggled to pack the all things I wanted, so I recommend to bring all the things that would make you the most comfortable in a new country, and don’t think twice!

Also, be careful not to over-pack because there is nothing worse than having to carry around a very heavy suitcase. I speak from experience because when I arrived in Korea, it was really hard to move my suitcases around because they were heavy and I couldn't always find the elevator. I hope you remember to bring things that remind you of your friends, family and home; it definitely makes homesick easier to deal with, or maybe you’ll be too busy with your new friends. I would recommend looking up the local foods of the country you are going to, so you can have a good idea of the ones you want to try and the ones you don’t. However, always be open to trying new things because you could end up loving something that you never thought you would have. Adjusting to a completely different cuisine that you are not used to can be difficult, so preparing yourself can be very helpful.

When you get to your host country, I know it can be scary, but start to make some friends. There are other exchange students who are nervous and shy in a different country with people they don’t know, so approach someone with a friendly smile. I’m sure they’ll be happy to chat with you and feel relieved. I had someone approach me and my friends asking for help with their phone and now we’re all great friends. The smallest interaction can be life changing.

Use this opportunity to travel, especially in your country of exchange. This can be very rewarding because you get used to different accents, meet different people and learn new things. It will be fun and you can make a lot of memories. I recommend researching things you want to do and places you want to see before travelling, especially if you are only abroad for a semester because it goes by very quickly. Overall, studying abroad is a great experience. I personally will never regret coming to Daegu to study, and I wish you all the best of luck!

Useful vocabulary

Courage (Noun) – the quality of being brave

Homesickness (Noun) – stress caused from being away from home

Homesick (Adjective) – feeling stressed from being away from home

Cuisine (Noun) – a style of food, related to a country or a region

Relieved (Adjective) – happy that something has ended

Interaction (Noun) – communication with someone or something

Rewarding (Adjective) – it makes a happy ending or satisfying ending

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