Meet Jack Dokken, our May IES Abroad Ambassador of the Month! Jack studied abroad on our Berlin – Language & Area Studies Program in Fall 2016, and he just finished up his junior year at College of William & Mary, where he studies European Studies and German Studies.
Jack provides helpful tips on how to meet local students abroad, and he reveals what study abroad means to him.
IES Abroad: How did you meet local students abroad?
Jack Dokken: I went into study abroad knowing that I wanted to do some kind of activity outside of the classroom, and I was hoping to tie that into my interest in soccer. So I looked up a local soccer team, gave the coach a call, and began training with them. I got to know the team pretty well, and I also met quite a few people. I also frequented a few cafes and was able to meet many people there.
IES Abroad: What tips would you give students to help them make their host country feel like home?
JD: The main tip I would give is think of something you are passionate about and try to find a way to do that while you are abroad. For me it was soccer, but I know of people who took dance classes or made home-cooked meals and that helped them feel like home. So finding some way to get involved goes a long way to making the host country feel like home.
IES Abroad: What one piece of advice would you share with those who are returning home from study abroad?
JD: I would tell them that it's going to feel weird to be at home for a while, but it will begin to feel more comfortable with time just as it was when they first went abroad. Everyone handles this time differently, but what worked for me was meeting up with the people that I missed when I was abroad. It helped me to get out and reconnect with friends to get used to being home again.
IES Abroad: What does study abroad mean to you?
JD: Study abroad is all of the new and unique experiences that I had. It is all of the amazing people that I met and got to know both in my program and locally in the community. It is what has shaped me into the person who I am today.
Thank you, Jack!
Do you have more questions about what it’s like to study abroad? Contact an IES Abroad Ambassador. They’re recent IES Abroad alums with a lot of study abroad expertise, and they volunteer to answer your questions. They’re here to help!