This article was originally published on our blog in Spanish. You can find the original article here.
When I was choosing the universities in which I wanted to study, on my list of preferred cities was Granada. I knew that for this to be possible, I had to receive a scholarship to help me pay for my studies. I didn’t know my results until September. I was on the waiting list. Afterward, I got a call from the Embassy of Slovakia. One of the beneficiaries had resigned, and that was how I was awarded the scholarship because this came in as an impromptu, I had only one week to get on a plane and go 3000 miles away from my house. I accepted, having no idea what to expect. Now, almost three years later, my life is entirely different. For that reason, I would like to give a brief testimony of the life of a student who has chosen to pursue his career abroad and summarize the advantages and disadvantages of this decision.
No matter where you are, no matter how many times you tell your classmates, teachers, and friends that you are NOT Erasmus, they will continue to think. Maybe there is nothing wrong with this, but at times it can be quite substantial. However, the fun thing is to see their faces when you reappear at the same site the following year.
Going to study abroad for several years is not the same as going abroad. The first steps will probably be the most difficult, you will have to mount a new life in a different country, speaking a foreign language and you may often feel alone. At the same time, few people will understand what you are going through because many of them have never been in a similar situation.
Adapting to life in a different country is not easy. You will have to solve things on your own.
Adapting to life in a different country is not easy. Very often no one in your family can help you (either by language or by remoteness), and you will have to solve things on your own. You will have to learn again how to go to the doctor or pay a receipt and very often you will be forced to do things that you do not know how they are done even in your own country.
Also, it is entirely possible that you will miss many important events with your family and friends. If you study far away from home, you will not be able to see them so often. When you return, you no longer know where to feel at home. Things from there suddenly seem strange to you. If before you had to adapt to the new culture, now it is difficult for you to adjust to your own culture every time you return. Your identity is completely unfolded.
Living in a different country than yours compels you to continually compare the two cultures. You will realize how bad the new one is, but also how bad your own is, and you will try to get the good of both. Also, living in a place where customs and beliefs may be different from yours will make you more understandable and respectful of others.
Abroad, you never stop discovering things that you did not know before. The fact of living between two different countries does not contribute much to the routine. Also, it is possible that for a long time you feel like you’re “on vacation” so in your free time trying to travel and discover new places. But beware! This does not mean that you cannot find stability in your life.
Away from your home, you will have to take full responsibility for an almost independent life with relatively little age. At first, this may be a significant disadvantage, be rest assured that after a period you will learn to handle any situation on your own; this will also give you great satisfaction.
Studying abroad can be a great asset to your resume, and says a lot about your personality.
Many times a new country you’ll be required to learn a language other than yours. It may be that, although you have studied it for many years, on the first day you are convinced that you were deceived and this language here is not spoken by anyone. But in the end, you will get used to it, and in time you will become bilingual.
You may not even think about it, but studying abroad can be a great asset to your resume. The fact that you can look for life away from home is a fascinating fact for most companies or universities and says a lot about your personality.
Finally, and for me the most important advantage, from the beginning to the end (if any), you will have lived many things, some of them simple, some not so much. Having overcome everything on your own will give you a lot of confidence in your abilities; it will help you to reaffirm yourself and, ultimately, will help shape your personality.
There are more and more people going abroad, and the most common thing is that in the country you go there are already groups from your country. My advice is to look for these groups and join them. In your starting moments, groups like this can help you a lot and also offer you great friends or moments to have fun with someone who has gone through the same process as you. However, it is essential that you do not stay there all the time. You have to create relationships with the people of the country you go to. No one will be able to help you better than these people and are evidently willing to start new friendships. Finally, no matter our origin, the important thing is that we are all people.
Are you thinking about studying or pursuing your career abroad? Or are you already studying in a country other than yours? In both cases, we would love you to share some of your experience or any questions you may have about this subject below in the comments.