Faculty & Staff
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Incoming Exchange Students
During the time preceding the study abroad experience, participants begin to think about the challenges of living in another culture. However, administrative considerations often become overwhelming and take precedence over emotional and personal preparations for going abroad.
What follows are three ways for you, as a friend or family member, to think about the upcoming study abroad experience. Participant’s identity and the things that make them unique inevitably become part of the experience abroad. When living in a foreign country, some aspects of identity may come to the surface that might not otherwise be paid much attention, such as dietary concerns, health, smoking and drinking habits, one’s family, gender, learning styles, physical and cognitive ability, race/ethnicity, minority or majority status, religion, sexual orientation, and social class. Before going abroad, participants may want to consider how different aspects of their individual identities might affect, or be affected by, the experience abroad.
When abroad people encounter differences in beliefs and values. Before departing it can be helpful for participants to think about how their own cultural background has influenced their beliefs and values as well as how the foreign culture will similarly influence those who live in it.
It is also important for participants to identify goals, objectives, and expectations before leaving in order to plan for their experience and to mitigate some of their anxiety or apprehension.