Amanda is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Australia
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad because I wanted a taste of another culture in a way that would allow me to incorporate myself in it. I wanted to travel long-term so that I could become accustomed to another way of living. I chose Australia because of the distance and because of the landscape.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
I had a hard time adjusting to a different sense of humor, and this adjustment made me realize that there is more than one correct way to live, and that just because a culture does things differently doesn't mean it does things incorrectly.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
It was amazing and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I learned that I had to seek out ways to learn about and reflect on cultural differences and that it's important to try and put oneself in a mindset different than what one is used to being in. I made lifelong friends that I never expected to make, many from all over the world. I also got the opportunity to be a part of a college and educational system that works much differently from the one here.
Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
It had made me more competent with people in general, accepting differences and finding similarities in spite of differences. It has also made me appreciate differences. It has made me more independent, more conscious of my spending, more adept at adapting to new and tricky situations, and a much calmer problem solver.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Never compare another culture to your own. Constant comparing will only result in a competition and will make something seem like it's not as good just because it's new and different. Also, it's really important that you don't forget to make the most out of your whole experience. It's really easy to become complacent abroad and get into a routine, then find out in the last couple of weeks that the time you have to take advantage of your opportunities is limited. Grab a hold of those chances, but it's likely you'll only get them once.
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