Karlsruhe #1: Take a Step Back

16 Apr

For those of you who are or who have done study abroad, you might have heard someone, for example your study abroad advisor, telling you, “Try to mingle with the locals. It’s very easy for you to stick with your American friends and creating your own little ‘island’.” Maybe not exactly like that, but somewhat similar to it.

First time I heard that from my advisor, I thought, “Pssh, no way it would happen. I will stay in a residence hall for international students. I will have friends from all over the world.” Turns out it’s not always that easy.

Having the same classes, living close to each other, speaking the same language, having the same background, all those made it so comfortable to stay in the circle of Americans. Different people have different purposes to go abroad, some might just want to see what it looks like, some want to try the difference in the university system, while some want to immerse with the local culture. And that’s what I want. So then I was reminded a couple days ago of my ultimate goal, and I’ve been trying to find a good balance of time spent with my old friends and new friends.

In conclusion, it’s really easy to get yourself attracted to an environment where you’re very much accustomed to. However, it might be a good idea to pull yourself back a little and think about what do you want to do while you’re out of the country. And for those of you who are going to do or thinking about doing study abroad, this is also a message for you, which I think is really important in order for you guys to accomplish the goals that you will seek while abroad.

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