Studying Abroad: Experiences & Opinions

In summary, the conversation includes discussions about studying abroad in a country where one doesn't know the language, as well as personal experiences and opinions about studying abroad. The speakers mention countries such as Scotland, Argentina, China, and France, and also bring up the topic of language barriers and cultural differences. They also mention their own experiences with language learning programs like Rosetta Stone and share anecdotes about struggling with accents and language barriers. Overall, the conversation highlights the benefits and challenges of studying abroad and the importance of being open to new experiences.
  • #1
kbaumen
192
0
So, has anyone got any interesting experience or opinion to share? I, myself, am currently fighting with the bureaucracy of UCAS to apply to the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, where my main priority is Electrical and Mechanical engineering, and I feel thrilled. I really want to go and study there (or anywhere outside my country due to the economical situation and complications created) and my parents also think it's a good idea and are going to support me as much as they can.

However, I would like to read about some other people's experience. Have you studied abroad? What did you study? What was it like? How was the international environment? Was it hard to get used to studying in other than your mother's tongue?
 
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  • #2
I was living in France with my mother, brother and sister. I am the elder.
Once I finished high school (July of 2006), I moved to Argentina alone to study Physics. I met a woman and now she's my girlfriend and we live in the same flat. I knew some Spanish before coming here, but I'd say I've asked thousands of questions related to the language to my girlfriend. Now Argentinian people don't know if I'm a foreigner when they listen to me.
I just finished the first year at University, and the bachelor lasts 5 years here. I plan of coming back to France once I get the degree in order to pursue graduate studies, or maybe in Canada since I'm also Canadian. In my case studying abroad in a quite different country is a really nice experience and I feel it might be the most beautiful years of my life.
It wasn't hard for me to study in Spanish, even when I started University. As I said, I knew some Spanish before coming here. But I realize it may be a big problem if you plan to study in a country whose language is almost unknown to you. If you're young and you want to study abroad, do it.
 
  • #3
Has anyone ever studied abroad in a country where they didn't know the language? If so how did you manage? I would love to study abroad but I only know German and don't much care for Germany.

Does rosetta stone work well? I have heard many good reviews but never really used it.
 
  • #4
fluidistic said:
As I said, I knew some Spanish before coming here. But I realize it may be a big problem if you plan to study in a country whose language is almost unknown to you. If you're young and you want to study abroad, do it.

Well, I don't mean to brag, but I don't consider English that much of a problem for me. But that's the only foreign language I can speak more or less fluently. At school I'm also studying German and I can say a few things in German as well, but it's not like I could without any problems communicate in it, not to mention studying in it. It's the same with Russian, I know a little bit, can speak a little bit but that's all. Hence, my choice - Scotland. Of course I could've chosen Australia or the states but from this year, for EU citizens studying is without tuition in Scotland, which is a serious argument.
 
  • #5
kbaumen said:
Well, I don't mean to brag, but I don't consider English that much of a problem for me.

You wait till you hear the locals in Glasgow speak: I can barely understand them!
 
  • #6
mbisCool said:
Has anyone ever studied abroad in a country where they didn't know the language? If so how did you manage? I would love to study abroad but I only know German and don't much care for Germany.

Does rosetta stone work well? I have heard many good reviews but never really used it.

It depends on the country. I studied in China last summer and didn't know a word of Chinese. However, most young people in China know English, so I was just fine. In retrospect, it probably would have behooved me to at least learn a few simple phrases, but I survived.

As far as whether it was worth it... It's hard for me to say. I only went because I didn't want to stay home over the summer, and out of state students such as myself pay in state tuition when studying abroad. I definitely enjoyed it a lot, and came back with a lot of interesting experiences. I can't really say that I learned a whole lot that I couldn't have learned at home, though.

I have a friend who studied at Strathclyde last spring, and he said it was wonderful there. I'm actually thinking of studying there too, but probably not for a couple more years.
 
  • #7
cristo said:
You wait till you hear the locals in Glasgow speak: I can barely understand them!

A friend of mine studies at Strathclyde and she said that in the international environment you rarely hear the Scottish English. Even the faculty is mostly not Scottish.
 
  • #8
A friend and I that went to Scotland (for a conference 10 or so years ago) had no problem with the accent.. except when we asked the maitre-de for a recommendation of a "family-friendly" burger joint. He replied that he always took his family to the "Whore Pot"... which we repeat back to him and had him repeat. In following his directions, we didn't see any restaurant of such description, but we found one on our own after a few additional blocks. Eventually, on our return trip, we noticed the "Hot Spot." :smile:

We also toured to Edinburgh (a friend was on faculty there).. and seriously, we enjoyed Glasgow more, because it's more gritty and less polished "touristy" (although there was still plenty in Glasgow to do in our extra days). Getting out to less traveled areas (via the train or via the friend) was also great... unfortunately for us the conference was in November... to late to extend the visit enough to travel up to the highlands, which apparently get quite cold at that time of year.

If I had to apply to grad schools all over again, I wish I had extended my applications to include non-US places... namely including St. Andrew's (in Fife).
 
  • #9
physics girl phd said:
A friend and I that went to Scotland (for a conference 10 or so years ago) had no problem with the accent.. except when we asked the maitre-de for a recommendation of a "family-friendly" burger joint. He replied that he always took his family to the "Whore Pot"... which we repeat back to him and had him repeat. In following his directions, we didn't see any restaurant of such description, but we found one on our own after a few additional blocks. Eventually, on our return trip, we noticed the "Hot Spot." :smile:

We also toured to Edinburgh (a friend was on faculty there).. and seriously, we enjoyed Glasgow more, because it's more gritty and less polished "touristy" (although there was still plenty in Glasgow to do in our extra days). Getting out to less traveled areas (via the train or via the friend) was also great... unfortunately for us the conference was in November... to late to extend the visit enough to travel up to the highlands, which apparently get quite cold at that time of year.

If I had to apply to grad schools all over again, I wish I had extended my applications to include non-US places... namely including St. Andrew's (in Fife).

From what I've heard about St Andrews, it's a great university, but a terribly boring place to be.
 
  • #10
Phew. First part of application is over. It has been submitted and now I'm waiting for it to be processed. Wish me luck!
 

Related to Studying Abroad: Experiences & Opinions

What are the benefits of studying abroad?

Studying abroad allows students to gain a global perspective, develop intercultural communication skills, and improve language proficiency. It also provides opportunities for personal growth, independence, and career advancement.

What are the challenges of studying abroad?

Some common challenges of studying abroad include homesickness, culture shock, language barriers, and adjusting to a new academic system. Financial constraints, visa issues, and being away from friends and family can also be difficult.

How can I choose the right study abroad program?

When choosing a study abroad program, consider your academic goals, personal interests, budget, and preferred location. Research the program's reputation, curriculum, housing options, and support services for international students.

Can studying abroad impact my future career?

Yes, studying abroad can have a positive impact on your future career. Employers value the skills and experiences gained from studying abroad, such as adaptability, cross-cultural communication, and global awareness. It also shows initiative and independence.

What should I do to prepare for studying abroad?

To prepare for studying abroad, research the host country's culture, customs, and laws. Familiarize yourself with the program's requirements and expectations. Make sure to obtain necessary visas and vaccinations, and budget for living expenses. It's also helpful to learn the local language and connect with other students who have studied abroad.

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