How Community College Transfer Students Can Assimilate When Studying Abroad

by A Guest Author

Full immersion into a foreign country can be the best way to learn a language and understand a new culture from the ground up, but for the community college transfer student involved in a study abroad program in can be a lot to take in. Certainly the prospect of traveling the world is an exciting one, and many post community college transfers get wrapped up in the adventurous aspects of the trip. But the truth is that most community college transfer students that embark on such journeys don't have any notion of the realities they'll face when they step off the plane onto foreign soil.

The learning curve for living in another country can be steep.

Even if you know the language there are laws and customs that must be adhered to, many of them different from what you have learned thus far. In addition, you may not know anyone and you'll have to learn your way around a new and often confusing locale. On top of that, you have your studies to attend to and you'll have to keep your grades up if you don't want to ruin your overall GPA. That's a lot of pressure for a student that's away from home for the first time. But there are ways to assimilate in order to ensure a fun and fruitful experience.

For starters, you should be outgoing and strive to make a few new friends as soon as possible. This is a no-brainer for most college kids, who are keen to meet new people anyway. Even if you have friends from back home in the program with you it's important to reach out to local residents within your peer group. These college-age kids can not only show you the ropes, enhancing your experience by giving you the inside perspective, taking you to local hotspots, and correcting your language and behavior as needed, but they may also become lifelong friends that you visit with frequently in the years to come. Befriending locals is probably the very best way to assimilate more quickly during a short stint in another country.

But making fast friends is easier said than done, especially when there's a language barrier. So if you find yourself going it alone for a period of time, consider using the experience of others to your advantage by checking out travel guides. These booklets (or apps) often come with a slew of suggestions regarding restaurants and points of interest, and most include maps to help you navigate to your destination. The idea may strike you as touristy, but you are, in fact, a stranger in a strange land, and in need of some assistance. Finding new destinations can help you to learn your way around a new city as well as help you to find some hangouts that appeal to you (which could, in turn, deliver on some new acquaintances).

Immersing yourself in another country and culture when you choose to study abroad is no easy feat, but the many benefits to be gained from such an experience can make all the potential setbacks well worth your while. You've probably already pegged the schools that offer the best counseling degrees or MBAs, depending on your intended field of major study, but before you head off to a four-year college you should definitely consider the benefits of a study abroad program. The eye-opening experience of living and learning in another country can only help you in all of your academic endeavors, and with just a few tips under your belt you can more easily assimilate and get the most out of your foreign study experience.

This post was written by A Guest Author

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