Studying abroad is a great way to get professional skills. I have only been here for a little more than a month and these are the skills that I have acquired so far:
I quickly had to learn how to adapt to a new environment. I definitely suffered from culture shock and homesickness at the start of the semester, getting used to a new culture, language, and a new way of living. I’ll be honest, in the beginning, I was counting the days until I got to go home because it was difficult at first. I didn’t think I would ever adjust but now I definitely feel like I have adapted to my surroundings.
Patience and Problem solving
Whenever I solo travel on the weekend, I have to plan my own itinerary, I’m the type of person that needs to plan every last detail. I learned that sometimes, not everything goes as planned and that some things are out of my control. I had to learn how to be patient and not let that bother me. I learned how to think on my feet and quickly change my game plan whenever that happens.
This was actually a huge weakness of mine. I’m not great at communicating and I’m also very introverted. Back home, when I’m in the group of people I prefer to stay in the background and stay quiet. But studying abroad helped me get out of my comfort zone and talk to new people. I have met people from all over the world just by talking to my classmates and people that I’ve met on tours.
I also met more people on my weekends trips. Usually when I go on my weekend trips, I go by myself. When I book hostels I’m usually placed in a room with 5 other girls. Instead of staying quiet like I usually would back home, I would introduce myself and get to know them more. I made some amazing friends this way and am even going to meet up with them for another weekend trip. I feel like I can communicate with anyone now.
Aside from getting the learn the local language, I also had to learn the social norms of the country that I’m staying and respect them. For example, there’s a rule in Prague that says we can’t be noisy after 10 pm.
One time, I went on a historical tour in Prague. I was the only American on the tour and the rest of the people there were from so many different countries. At one point, the guide asked all of us if we had any questions and that there are no dumb questions.
He then paused for a minute and said, “Wait, never mind. There are.”
I asked him what he meant by that and he said, “Sometimes people forget what country they’re in and that they say things they shouldn’t say.”
And he’s right, I learned that I’m a guest here and that I need to be mindful of the country that I’m in.
In conclusion, I’m so grateful that I get to not only have all these new experiences abroad but that I also get to learn skills that will be applicable in the workplace.