Study abroad – expectations versus reality
Don’t prepare yourself for a letdown! Don’t let your high expectations ruin your trip. The time before you leave for your study abroad trip is usually a combination of in-depth internet surfing and building up expectations, which can set you up for a letdown. Here is a breakdown of five most common expectation traps when it comes to study abroad experiences.
Expectation: Beautiful country with breath-taking views and architecture or a paradise with golden beaches where it never rains.
Reality: There will definitely be something breath-taking about the country and some views will be beautiful, but expecting amazing sights on every corner is a mistake. Remember that there will be dirtier areas in every city, not every view out of the window will be an ocean one and that you can’t expect every part of the country to look like a postcard.
Expectation: Welcoming, hospitable and kind local people.
Reality: It’s a trait every country wishes for their citizens to have. While some countries do have a reputation of great hospitality and other don’t it doesn’t mean that all of the people will be nice and kind or mean and alienating. Be cautions in every situation, don’t trust people off the bat, remember there are good and bad people all over the world.
Expectation: It will be just like a holiday, I can travel, sightsee, relax and make friends.
Reality: It’s going to be like you’re studying abroad – exactly that! It will be a combination of travel and studying. So you can go sightseeing, you will get to know a new culture and make new friends, but you will also have to study and perform well. Remember it’s an opportunity for you, make the most of it!
Expectation: My host family will be ideally matched with me and we will get along great.
Reality: Your host family will be a substitute for your real family during the time you spend abroad. Just like with any other real family there can be good days and bad days. Remember that they come from a different culture and have different traditions – be respectful of that. Just because you don’t agree on every topic and have the same views does not mean you will not get a long great.
Expectation: When I come back home, it will be like I never left.
Reality: To some extent it can be, but while you were gone your family and friends kept on living and weren’t just waiting for your return. There will be a lot for you to catch up on, but you will have equally as many of your own stories to share.
Studying abroad is often connected with extremely high expectations that are sometimes impossible to meet – remember why you’re doing it – you probably are looking for an adventure and an experience of a life time and that you are guaranteed to have. Keep an open mind and an open heart and everything is bound to go right!
Getting rid of high expectations saves you from a letdown, you can still however be pleasantly surprised!
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