It's been a while since I have posted so I'll give a quick refresher. My name is Isaac Greeson and i'm a senior studying Crop Science. I graduate in December, so I don't have much time left at Purdue. I've had a lot of great experiences at Purdue, but one of the best wasn't even in the U.S. But without the help of Purdue I would have never gotten the opportunity to study abroad. So i would like to use this blog post to give a couple tips about studying abroad. Even if you are not in college yet and are just a perspective student, keep these in mind as you go through your college years.
This Past Spring/Summer semester I was in Stuttgart, Germany. I was able to live far from home and was able to explore and see many parts of Europe. I'm from Indiana, so normally I go home about twice a month. So living abroad for six months took some adjusting at first. Eventually though everything starts to settle in and it just becomes normal. So if you are thinking about a full semester abroad and are apprehensive about how long you will be gone don't worry about it. Everything tends to come together. So that is my first tip about study abroad; GO FOR IT!
Some people are worried they don't have enough money or funds to study abroad. I was worried about this too at first. But, there are tons of scholarships for students. The university has started giving $3000 to students who participate in a full semester program. Also within the college of AG there are many scholarships. Depending on the program you are looking at or the university abroad they may have scholarships for you as well. I was fortunate to receive a 600 euro per month stipend, and that wasn't even through my school, but through an organization in the region I was in. (Baden-Wuertemberg) I ended up with enough money that my tuition was paid for and I made money by studying abroad. So if you're worried about being able to pay for study abroad, don't sweat too much. Because with minimal effort you can pretty much fund yourself.
I will be the first to admit the I am not a pro at making new friends. (at least I don't think so) If you're worried about going to a new place all alone and then feeling alone while there; you probably aren't alone. Everyone feels a little anxiety about ending up in a new place alone. After the experience though I have found that I am a more independent person and am now rarely afraid of going somewhere alone. So if you just look around for the other people who look lost and like they just showed up, same as you, try and make friends with them. The bond made with other people who are studying abroad is a strong one.
(All my friends!!!)
Now, I studied abroad in Germany. Its sad to say that sometimes, not always, that germans are stereotypically a colder people. (not my opinion) Wherever you go in the world, at least from my experiences, there are always kind and warm people who are willing to be your friend or just help you out if you need it. So if you are avoiding a country or destination just because you've heard people are mean or not that fun there; then that is most likely not true. There are good, and not so good people everywhere. You just have to find the good ones.
And that leads me into my last and most important tip. FORGET STEREOTYPES. Most people have stereotypes for most people. Sometimes they are true, but more often then not they are false. I find that thats the great thing about people, they cannot be generalized into a large group. Every individual should be treated as an individual. I have found this approach allows you, the viewer, to get to know someone better and faster.
So the ultimate thing to take away is "GO FOR IT!!" Get out there see what there is to see and experience what the word has to offer. You can do it, and along the way it never hurts to show everyone what a boilermaker can do.
If you've made it this far thanks for reading. If you have any questions you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org