So you’re going to study abroad? ME TOO!
How are you feeling? Excited? Adventurous? Exhilarated? Prepared? Nervous? Tense? Frightened? Worried?
My name is Natalie and I will be studying abroad with IES Abroad Arles - Summer in Provence this year. Last summer, I studied abroad in Paris through IES Abroad Advanced Language Program so this summer, I am completely ecstatic to be going back to my favorite country in the whole world. Luckily for me, I already kind of know what to expect since I had a similar experience last summer too.
Packing: There are plenty of packing posts on here. Everybody can try to prepare you for what you bring. I think the most important thing to remember is: if you forget things, it’s OK! You’re not on another planet! And you’ll be able to find what you might have forgotten right in the city you’re staying.
Planning: Like IES Abroad recommends, don’t plan trips until you get there. The point of an immersion program is to immerse yourself into a culture. You might decide once you get there that there is so much to do wherever you’re studying, that you don’t want to leave that city at all. And that’s OK!
Living: In my program, we are all obligated to stay with a host family. Other programs, like the Paris Program, we had the option to stay in an apartment as well. I stayed in a host family last summer and, obviously, am again. It’s so understandable to be nervous about this. Living with a bunch of strangers whose language you’re not fluent in? YIKES! But think about it: These wonderful people VOLUNTEERED to have students come live with them. It is likely that they’ve had abroad students before so they know what to expect from you. They’re all so friendly and accommodating that I am sure you will feel comfortable and right at home. And if you’re scared you won’t be able to communicate with them well enough, remember that they understand it isn’t your first language, and are always will to repeat what they say, talk a little slower, or help you by using different words you might know. Just be confident and be okay with making mistakes or not understanding sometimes and asking for help. It helps you to grow.
Feeling: It’s okay to be nervous. Particularly in a program like IES Abroad, you might not know other students studying abroad with you. And that is OKAY! You might be studying with students from all over the US. You might be studying with students from all over the world. And it makes for an amazing experience.
When you first arrive, you might feel very frightened and alone. These feelings will pass. Everyone studying abroad is experiencing something totally new to them and they are all willing to be friends with you. Just give the language, the new city, and the new people a chance, and I promise you’ll have one of the best experiences of your whole life!
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<p>In 7th grade, I memorized the name of every single nation of the world and in my life, I travel to as many of them as possible. I like to read, write, run, and play French horn in my free time.</p>