I always knew I wanted to spend time in Europe and felt one semester would not be enough, so after graduating from high school in Bethesda, Maryland I decided to attend John Cabot University in Rome, Italy as a full time degree-seeking student. Four whole years in the eternal city!
If you are studying abroad this semester, nerves may be starting to kick in, but remember you can do this. You have been preparing for months, you have thought of everything imaginable- if your phone will work and how to pack your luggage.
It can be hard to acclimate to a new environment, especially one where you don’t know the language or the people, and you are unsure of the customs. Here are a few ways to ensure you have a comfortable and memorable experience abroad.
As your departure date approaches you may start to worry about not being fluent in another language-it’s okay! There will be people there to help you out, as long as you try. People appreciate it when you try to speak their language and are more willing to meet you halfway if they can see you care enough to make an effort to connect with them. A huge part of studying abroad is immersing yourself wholly in the culture of your host nation. Using the language is a great way to learn more about the country, practice your skills, and become confident.
You may also start to get antsy about leaving your friends at home and venturing off into unknown territory. Have no fear, you will make friends abroad. You will have roommates and if you have a homestay, you will make friends in class. Most people are in the same boat as you-nervous, foreign, excited, and terrified.
Talk to your classmates. You may have something in common. Ask about travel intentions for the semester and see if you have any of the same destinations in mind. Become travel buddies and plan trips together.
Do your research. Read everything then reread. Open your mind to the fact that you are going somewhere new, where things will be different. If you had the guts to take the steps necessary to go abroad and decided to take the leap to leave home for a semester or longer, you can handle this.
Remember, open your mind, relax, keep your positive attitude, and prepare to have the time of your life.
Tariro Mzezewa is a junior at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy and is studying Communications and International Affairs. Tariro is a Dorm and Study Abroad Writer for CL. She also loves traveling, going to the beach, performing, blogging, being an obsessive discount shopper, and trying out new recipes. Follow her on Twitter @tariromze