Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tips for Studying Abroad at UT Tyler!

With GATE interviews just around the corner and a new class of GATE students about to be accepted into the program, I have come to realize that my time with GATE is limited. It seems like just yesterday that I was anxiously waiting to apply for the program. I first learned about the group when I was on a tour of the campus and I almost walked into a door with one of their fliers on it. I was immediately curious. The flyer I saw was advertising the opportunity to study abroad and travel! What was this GATE program and how could I be a part of it?
GATE stands for Global Awareness Through Education and it is a two year program for freshman and sophomore students. The classes that GATE students take have a global focus, such as Music of the Americas and World Literature, just to name a couple. Through GATE, I have met some of the best people and I honestly don’t know what I would do if I hadn’t have made those friends. When we were all at the first social getting to know each other, it felt like the Brazil and Argentina trip was so far away. It felt like such a colossal undertaking to get 30 students on the same page in studying abroad! Now that the trip is almost a month away, I have no fingernails anymore because I can’t believe it is finally here.

Here are some tips to make getting ready to go on a study abroad trip less scary:

Expectations: being able to smile. Reality: looks like a mugshot

-Keep all of your important documents in one folder. I have a binder that I decorated with Paris and London scrapbook stickers, and it holds my birth certificate, social security information, and my passport. I highly recommend everyone doing the same. Decorate however you want it. It is a conversation starter and it means peace of mind when you suddenly can’t find your passport. It is all stashed in one spot.

-always buy more than one copy of your passport picture. They are about $11.99 a set, but you will find that you will need extra pictures of your face in case the picture gets bent or torn or in case you need a visa.

-when you’re looking over your vital packing list, make a list of what all you have against what you need to buy. That way when you’re getting your belongings together a few nights before, you don’t have to have that panic inducing mad dash to the store to buy more of what you already have. You don’t /need/ those sandals with no arch support. You will be miserable and in pain. You do need deodorant and toothpaste. Buy more of that if you need to.

Got to love the Union Jack bag <3
-do some research on the place where you’re going. I don’t mean a ten page research paper, MLA format, with size 12 Times New Roman font. I mean looking at cafes and restaurants in the area. Getting acclimated before going there can help soothe any jitters you may have. There will most likely be a pizza place or a cute themed tea house, just like there is back home. Don’t let the differences get you down. You’ll be back before you know it.

-try and watch some movies from the country that you’re going to. Cinema and music is a big part of culture. It allows the viewer insight into what people from that country do for entertainment purposes. It can also be another common ground when speaking to a local from the country. Ask them if they had ever seen the movie as well! It lets one see what they find entertaining or funny.

True Story!
While I have been traveling around quite a bit in my life, this is the first time I have gone so far away from my ‘home’ in my adult life. Whenever I get nervous or anxious about studying abroad, I just remember that life is too short to live it in just one place!

1 comment:

Priya said...

It's like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

New Zealand education Consultants in Chennai | Study in Europe Consultants in Chennai | Study in Canada Education Consultants in Chennai

Post a Comment