Did you know – as an Augsburg College student, you have access to study abroad programs in 90 different countries around the globe (including USA programs)? Here is one Auggie’s global story in our new blog segment #AuggiesGoGlobal:
When did you study abroad?
Fall 2015 semester
Where, and on which program, did you go abroad?
What made that program a good fit for you?
I chose CEA because they had a variety of homestay, residence hall, and apartment options for housing. In addition, they had an abundance of different class options. CEA also brings students on excursions throughout your abroad experience, which are all included in the program fee. The staff was incredibly kind and helpful in navigating culture shock and everyday life in a different country.
Describe how the program helped you reach your academic goals.
I was able to fulfill one of my French minor requirements by taking a French Literature course while abroad.
Is there anything that surprised you about studying abroad?
I was surprised at how long the first few days were, and how short the last ones were. Culture shock was a lot more abrasive than I had ever expected, I think I talked to my parents and my friends every day for the first couple of weeks until I felt fully settled in the new place. I learned a lot quickly, and I never knew how educational immersion into the culture and language could be. I have taken seven years of French, yet I learned more in one semester of immersion than I have in the past seven years. Maybe that’s because I already had a solid foundation, but I understand French on a deeper level than I ever expected to accomplish. I also have a greater appreciation for how much farther I have to go before I reach fluency.
What skills or qualities do you have now that you didn’t before study abroad?
I have a greater understanding of cultural relevancy. In France there are thousands of years of history that have created their current society. In comparison, the United States is just an infant, and the idea that the problems we have in the US are somehow comparable to the problems in France or in any country is a far stretch. Each country and culture has its own history that has created its laws and social norms. I have learned that in a conversation about international relations, it is far more effective for me to sit back and listen to the other voices around the world, and to educate myself about their experiences and problems rather than assuming that their life has some inherent connection to my own.
What advice do you have for students who want to study abroad?
In the first week or two, make sure to pack your days with things to do. It will help a lot to get rid of jetlag, and it will also keep your focus away from the people you left at home while you adjust to the new lifestyle. Also be open to trying new things and accepting different ways of thinking and acting. Keep your mind open and your schedule full, and you will have a blast!