Having worked with both college and highschool students while they are studying abroad, I often tell them during orientation that studying abroad is like being in kindergarten all over again… How?
You’ll need to memorize your home address. Learning your way around a new city (and public transportation) is one thing, but being able to tell a cab driver your address to get you home is quite another. The same can be said for memorizing a phone number (in case you lose your cell phone).
You need to learn how to cross the street. Whether it be dodging bikes in Copenhagen, having near-death experiences with rickshaws in Delhi or taxis in Rome, or simply having traffic on the opposite side of the road; you will have to re-learn looking both ways before (and while) crossing the street!
You need someone to explain things to you. Much like when you were a small child, you’re probably going to have lots of questions about what’s going on around you. And often, only a local can do that for you. What better motivation do you need to make a local friend, or chat with your host family over a meal?
You need to clean your plate! Not really, but you should be willing to try new things. In my house as a kid, we had the “one bite rule.” Try to have an open mind and enjoy the local fare!
You might have a hard time expressing yourself. If you’re studying in a foreign-speaking country, you’ll have daily challenges for your language skills. It’s hard not to feel like a kid when you talk like one. Related to this: You might be jealous of the 1st-graders… because they speak more fluently in the host language than you do. 🙂
Michelle Rembolt, DUSA Program Manager
P.S. This blog post was inspired to GoAbroad’s recent blog posting on Turning Back the Clock: 10 Ways Traveling Turns You into a Child. Check it out!
7 thoughts on “Studying abroad is like going back to kindergarten”
Michelle, you are so right! I’m going to use this in my next pre-departure orientation.
So true! Reading the article makes me laugh but thinking in hindsight, all are exactly true!
Reblogged this on Bus2alps – Student Travel Europe and commented:
Incredible Friday study abroad read courtesy of DU Study Abroad.
This is too perfect. Is it cool if we reblog a few of these periodically on our travel blog for study abroad students, blog.bus2alps.com?
Thanks for the re-blog, and sure, we don’t mind if you’d like to do so periodically. =)
Great to hear, thanks! Also, if you ever see anything come up on our blog you would like to feel free to do the same. We always have our trip leaders blogging about their personal travel tips for people studying and traveling abroad.