For how long did you stay abroad?
Full academic year, Sept 2016 – May 2017.
Why did you choose to learn abroad?
Academic reasons: As an English major I have always wanted to study literature courses in the UK.
My brief but valuable work experience in London has given me professional work experience and the skills needed to adapt in a new environment.
What are the specific skills that you learned or developed?
Organizational skills: Budgeting one’s finances, managing my own schedule and room, share the responsibilities of up keeping the at with my other five flatmates.
Critical thinking: Participating in tutorials, expressing my argument in an effective and eloquent way.
What benefits did you get from the experience?
Academically: I have learned a lot about the history of Scotland and its struggle to identity and differentiate themselves from England through a Scottish literature class I took in first semester. I realized there’s a vast difference in school systems and I learnt to adapt by self-motivation and taking more initiative in class and studying compared to home.
Global benefits: As an art history minor, travelling in Europe has broadened my knowledge in the arts through touring museums and art galleries in Scotland, London, Amsterdam and Germany. My brief but valuable work experience in London has given me professional work experience and the skills needed to adapt in a new environment.
Please, name 2 challenges that you faced and how you overcame them in your experience.
- Cultural barrier: (It happens rarely, but) I sometimes have a hard time understanding various Scottish dialects and the way I could cope is to pay more attention when they speak and be patient. (An embarrassing story of mine: A stranger asked me for tape on the streets and I said no, only to realize after she was gone that she was actually asking me about the time.)
- Time management: It was a bit challenging to stay focused in my studies while I was in a new environment and keen to explore. I gradually overcame that challenge by focusing on my studies during the week and went on day trips with student tours in the weekends.
I learnt to adapt by self-motivation and taking more initiative in class and studying compared to home.
Would you recommend learning abroad to a friend? Why?
Absolutely, because they will create friendships that could potentially last for a lifetime and exchange programs will broaden their exposure to various cultures through meeting other people from around the world.