Nowadays, the term globalization is known by virtually everybody. This concept has not only changed the interactions between the different countries, but also our perspective of the world as a whole. Exchange Programs give you as a student the opportunity to take such interactions to the next level, which has a positive impact on your resumé, among other advantages for your professional life.
Indeed, there’s nothing better than getting out of your comfort zone, and an exchange program is certainly a great way to do so. During the time that you will be far away from home, sharing with new people, speaking a different language, and immersed in a different culture, you will have the opportunity to learn about a different part of you, one that maybe you didn’t even know that existed.
Probably you have been making preparations for a very long time to get ready for your exchange program by gathering documents, going to interviews, saving money, etc. All of that mixed with several emotions like excitement for having this kind of opportunity, longing for leaving your home and family for a while, and a lot of expectations about the new country, host family, University … It is definitely a big change, but don’t be afraid, in the lines below you will find some recommendations to deal successfully with all these things and have a great experience during your exchange program.
Dealing with your emotions
Yes, as I said before there are a lot of psychological and emotional situations that come to the surface during experiences such as exchange programs and you have to be aware of that. It is completely normal to feel a little bit overdosed. In this case, there are three words I like to remind myself: gratefulness, pride, and confidence.
Be grateful for being able to be part of this exchange program that will surely become into a life-changing experience in every way. Be proud of giving you the chance to face this challenge, which will improve your skills in every way. And every time you feel sad or nostalgic for what you left behind, have the confidence and trust that this is the right decision for your own life and future, as well as for your loved ones who will understand and wait for you to come back and share with them all the things you learned during your exchange program.
Before leaving your country and starting your exchange program make sure everything is in order: let your bank knows that you will be abroad for a while in order to avoid problems with your accounts and take copies of the most important documents with you. Also, investigate everything you can about the new country you will be at, it will make things easier for you when it comes to adaptation, and pay special attention to the official currency of the host country and take some cash with you, not only your credit card.
Practice your language skills
The new language will be an important thing when it comes to getting communicated in the new country, so the more you practice the most important words and phrases, the better for you. Get rid of shyness and start incorporating some new words to your vocabulary every day.
Once you arrive
Stay open-minded to receive all the knowledge that this experience brings to you as a student and as a person- The exchange program is a holistic adventure, but don’t forget that its main purpose is that you study. Pay attention to all the options that your new university offers you as an international student and take advantage of them, academic and socially. Make international friends and in your free time travel a lot, there are always options for every budget to enjoy and visit new places near from the place you are staying at.
Respect the new culture
This new country will be full of new traditions and laws. Be sure to respect them, learn and take part in them too. It may take you some time to get adapted to these new rules, but it will worth your while. Finally, find support in your host family, University’s authorities and partners, have fun and appreciate every second. Quite simply: get the most out of your exchange program.