Lessons & Learnings Abroad

Raisa Haque
December 25, 2018

Hi everyone! It’s been a while, so I thought I’d catch up with you all. I’m back at home now! We made it! But before I share how it feels being back from studying abroad, I want to go over a few things that I learned while I was abroad.

Pack Light

I know this may seem like the obvious thing to do, but things really do add up, and it’s always a good idea to donate while over there to people who need it. For example, I gave my host mom a couple things I didn’t need as well as my roommates. Depending on your airline and weight of your bags you don’t want to have to pay too many extra fees.

Mostly everyone is nice

I learned that when I lost my phone in Hungary, mostly everyone is nice. The humanity in people really shows when you need the help. It was an unfortunate incident but pickpocketing is real, and if you’re not careful it can happen to you. However, if you’re traveling to Barcelona, it’s definitely more common there so I would suggest keeping an eye on your bag at all times. For ladies, a purse with a chain inside is really helpful because I bought a bag from Pull&Bear but it had no chains inside making it really easy for professional pickpocketers. Anyway, most people are nice and at the end of the day even with your differences, people try their best to help you. It really depends on the kinds of people you approach but most people are friendly.

Don’t bring an expensive phone

With all the pickpocketing it’s best to bring a regular phone. You can also bring a camera for photos but in my experience, the iPhone is really valuable and it’s best to leave that at home. You can have music downloaded to an iPod or something because I was mainly using my laptop for music or my iPad. It’s just about how many devices you want to bring but I will tell you that my iPad helped a lot when I lost my phone. Make sure to back everything up to iCloud! That will help you in the end.

Communicate the best you can with your host family

Towards the end, I actually had to move home stay houses due to an issue with me and my host mom. The best thing I can tell you is to try to communicate the best you can from the beginning what you like, don’t like, boundaries, etc. There will be consequences to miscommunication because both of you will continue to think about different things. My host mom would ask me what I wanted for dinner and had me make a list so that way food doesn’t go to waste! In the beginning, I used google translate a lot to make lists for her but towards the middle, I was able to just tell her what I wanted. Also, Spanish food is bland if you’re someone with taste buds that are used to seasoning, spices, and a lot of flavors. However, I learned not all Spanish food is bland because I was able to get the experience of a new host family and learned that I shouldn’t make generalizations because everyone cooks differently. My second homestay family had food with more flavors and seasoning that tasted better with my taste buds. We all have different preferences and taste buds so it’s best to communicate what can work for the both of you.

Take your internship seriously

This may be really situational for me but if this happens to you later then you may be able to relate. My boss was actually in Dubai the whole time my internship was going on. We were communicating via WhatsApp and email. Although, it made things more difficult I had to adapt to the fact and still get the job done. Even if you are not getting paid you have to remember why you are doing this internship. You have to remember it’s a privilege and a blessing to work in a different country and gain cross-cultural experience. Of course not all my peers made light of their situation like I did, but in the end, you have to remember most people don’t even have the opportunity to do what you’re doing so it’s best to be grateful for what you have now.

Reminders: Sometimes things won’t always work out how you thought it would, but it’s your attitude and how you handle issues that count.

Raisa Haque

<p>Hi&nbsp;I'm Raisa, and I usually introduce myself by saying my name is pronounced like a bowl of rice and then uh. I enjoy writing poetry, taking photos of nature, and making playlists of all musical genres.</p>

Destination:
Term:
2018 Fall
Home university:
University of the Pacific
Hometown:
Milpitas, CA
Major:
Business Administration
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