I actually never heard someone say: “I regret going to study abroad”. It may have some ups and downs, but overall, the experience of studying abroad it is the best thing that happened to me. All the people that I know that went abroad say that they learned so much not only about the chosen program but also about life. ‘Regret’ may be too strong of a word, but these are things that I would’ve definitely changed if I had the chance.
The first year of me being abroad I tried to be more around the people from my country and to speak my language. This was a not very good idea because that was the period when I had the chance to improve my English and to get to know better students from other countries. Also, I wasn’t going very far away from the place I was staying at. I had the chance to travel more, to explore more cities and to get to know better the culture of the country. Comfort zone is good but when you are studying abroad is better to let yourself free and to try to gather as many memories and knowledge about everything around you.
I always liked to have my own space, but I also could hear how much fun other students were having while living together. I mean, the whole student experience is about friends, living together, studying together, helping each other and having fun. Imagine living in student housing and in the whole building you can hear five different types of music because there are five different parties, and you are welcome to go to any of them. Living with your friends, sharing the rent and having house rules it’s an experience that every student should have.
There were so many extracurriculars, clubs and festivals organized by the university for the students, that I didn’t really get involved in. Looking back, I wished I had taken more advantage of them. These activities were a great way to spend time with my fellow classmates. Going to the Friday bar for a drink or to the afternoon café for some tea and donuts. This was also a chance to start doing something new like salsa dancing.
I was studying in English and even if the locals knew English and I was able to speak with them, it would’ve been nice to try and learn their language. It’s true that some of them may be very hard, but to be able to have a simple conversation in Danish or Japanese can go a long way. It’s always interesting to learn a new language and this also can go very good in your CV. 😉
I still had these experiences as an international student, not in the amount that I wanted to, but I still enjoyed every moment of my student life. Yes there are difficulties moving to a different country for your studies, but all of them are worth it for an experience like this.