How would you define your international education experience?
- Study Abroad Student
What was your international education experience like?
My international education experience was daunting! I was not linguistically prepared for the rigor of studying in an exchange program, and faced many challenges like loneliness as I was the only native English speaker and only American on my program.
However, this opportunity gave me a lot of growth compared with my peers who stayed more in their comfort zones - my Japanese increased substantially - by the end of the program in about 3 months, I tested out of almost 2 years of SCU Japanese, my cultural knowledge of Japan and the East-Asia region became extensive opening up a variety of career paths for me, and my commitment to life long learning about Japan was made. One of the greatest challenges in the pandemic for me has been not knowing when I will be able to visit friends and colleagues living in Japan.
I learned intercultural communication skills, and most importantly, I learned about the challenges and difficulties associated with exchange, which has led to me pursuing a career supporting students through these challenges to help them embrace the gifts.
What message do you have to share with students and community members about the importance of international education?
If you get off the beaten path - truly and you will have a phenomenal depth added to your expertise. Learning French? Don't study in France. Go to Senegal. When you do the unexpected, your stories will be better, your experiences will be deeper, and your expertise will be greater.