Courtney Baker is studying Political Science here at OSU and is beginning the study abroad application process. Courtney is currently enrolled in the Introduction to Study Abroad class and will be applying to a study abroad program soon. She writes about the positive impact that meeting someone who is from your prospective host country can have!
When I enrolled for A&S 2000: Intro to Study Abroad this Summer, I thought I would just be choosing where I wanted to study next year. Now, six weeks into the class I still don’t know where I am going, but I HAVE learned a lot more than I anticipated.
For starters, I never realized that when I do study abroad, everything will be different. From religion to the language that is spoken at my host country, nothing will be quite the same as it is in America. I didn’t truly understand this until I completed an international student interview as part of a class requirement. I interviewed an American college student, Rachael, who had lived in Switzerland from age six to eighteen.
Rachael and I talked about everything during the interview. However, one of my favorite parts of the interview was when Rachael told me how the average Swiss person dresses. “The Swiss dress plainer than Americans. They wear a lot of gray and are not as fancy. But you will be at a college campus so people will be a little more fashionable. Overall, the Swiss are not as into looks as Americans are. They won’t ever wear dramatic make-up or flashy clothes.”
I thought this was so funny! Before my interview with Rachael, I had never considered how much effort Americans, especially women, put into their appearances every day. Interviewing an international student was such a great experience. Talking with Rachael helped to take some of the fear out of studying abroad. The interview made me so excited to experience all the things we discussed! Although I am still not sure where I will end up studying abroad, I plan on talking to an international student when I finally make the decision. Putting a face to the place you have researched so much about makes the country come alive.
To get started on the study abroad process, come to the Study Abroad Office in the basement of the Classroom Building (005) and talk to one of the Peer Advisors about getting started! For more information about the Intro to Study Abroad Class, ask your academic advisor, come see us, or enroll on SIS. I hope to see you soon!