BY STEVEN HANDY
For the UAS Whalesong
My Suggested Tips for Future Study Away Participants:
1. Assimilate. Consciously disconnect your sense of identity from all groups of which you’re a member to maximize potential for assimilation. When our social groups become our identity it is manifested in our behaviors that, consequentially, may force others to cling harder to theirs. Be a good representative but be yourself.
2. Home-stay: Know if you’re an extrovert or extravert and make sure you’re paired appropriately. Be candid when completing paperwork. The application is your chance to better try to specify your living situation abroad.
3. Academics: Pick out classes at your host institution early and maintain communication with professors and the program coordinator(s). Course structures – language, format, etc. change more than most Americans may be used to. Be flexible.
4. Read Everything: Pay close attention to and take advice given in all the documentation. For example, secure a power of attorney BEFORE you depart. You can never be certain of what will transpire in your absence and getting a power of attorney abroad may be extremely different and much more expensive. Or consider the pre-program language session. And figure out visa requirements. Information is out there but you have to act.