Studying abroad yields equally exciting experiences


Photo courtesy Kofi Danso

Exchange students from all over the world have the flag of their country at the mid-year orientation of an exchange program calls AFS. Students shared their thought about their experiences and their own cultures.

Studying abroad is becoming popular, especially for students. There are countless benefits of studying abroad for diverse reasons such as language, completely new common sense, perspective and personal growth.

The best, fastest way to learn the language is to spend time with people who speak the language, especially if you go to a country where people don’t speak your language. I’ve been learning English for 10 years, but being in an actual English-speaking country and using it every day makes learning it easier.

“I only knew how to say my name and hello when I got there, but by the time a year was over, I had no problems having normal conversations with people and I had so many friends,” former exchange student Sanae Sato said.

You will still have people who are supporting you there and people who have the same experience as you.

People you will meet there are going to be really special for you. You will have a new family and whenever you go back there, you will always have a place to come back to and you will have friends like you’ve never been friends with in your country.

Culture is also one of the biggest things. Everything is different from your country. The food that they eat, the way people communicate with others and the school system. It took me more than three months to get used to the lifestyle here, but once you get used to it, it will be your normal. And also you will feel more appreciation for your country. When I was in Japan I just didn’t like Japanese culture, but since I came here I found so many good things about my country and now I’m really proud of my country.

Living life with people who have completely different standards is interesting. The normal in your country is not normal in the country you go to. For example, I’m from Japan which doesn’t really have a diverse society. Coming here changed my perspective on ethnicity and I learned a lot of things I’d never learned in Japan.

My exchange year is almost over and there is one thing that I want to tell everyone. It is that you will have nothing to be afraid of. By the time you will go back to your country, you will be more confident than you think. I didn’t even realize it, but my host family and my exchange supporter told me that I changed. The first few months will be really hard to adjust to life, but when you look back, you aren’t afraid of anything, because you lived in a different country where there is no one you knew and still you will have once in a lifetime valuable experience.