When you hear that one of your friends is studying abroad, you may at one point envy him or her. I say this because I have envied people who have studied abroad. I used to think that, they would be able to learn English easily, just by hanging out with Americans. However, as it turns out, studying abroad as a foreign ex change student is not that easy. I must say I did have my joyful moments during my stay in the U.S, but sometimes I was very homesick. I would like to tell you all about my experience as an ex change student, and inform those who want to apply to an ex change program how to overcome the challenges that they might face.
Before I applied for the ex change students program, I worked at the English Institute for 1 year to improve my English skills. Because of its policy, everyone in the English institute was required to speak only English. This experience made me more confident in speaking English and improved my English skills. Unfortunately, I became too confident and thought that I didn’t need to study English anymore because I used English everyday. How foolish of me right?! You cannot imagine how many troubles I faced in America because of my lacking vocabulary. You cannot imagine how much effort it took to fix my grammatical errors on hand out assignments. So, what I am suggesting is study English everyday and every where, before and after you go aboard.
During my first semester at the Michigan State University, I took two regular classes and one ESL Writing class. The writing class was very helpful, and I learned how to write essays to hand in as assignments and get grades. However, I could not fully understand m regular classes, so I bought a rec order and asked for professors’ permission if I could record their seminar. The professors said that they would allow me to record lectures even though recording was not allowed according to school policy. During the classes, I recorded every single word that my professors said, and then I listened repeatedly and took notes at night. It was time-consuming work, and sometimes I just wanted to put everything down and go back to Korea. During the second semester, because of my boring but effective hard work, I did not need the rec order anymore. I was able to follow the lectures well.
Personally, I think that my experience in MSU broadened my view and improved my independence through a lot of events. There was no one to advise me on what to do, and how I should do it. I always had to plan and decided to follow my plan on my own. For example, if I wanted to volunteer for community service, I had to search for what activities I could apply for on a website and prepare for an interview with the staff of the Service and Learning Center. I applied to be a a Happy Visitor at East Lansing Healthcare Center. Then, I had to contact and meet with the staff of the center, and the director of East Lansing Healthcare Center. Also, I had to do several interviews before I was able to volunteer at the center. There was nothing that was easy, not even volunteering. Even though it was hard, I could not ignore what I was supposed to do, or what I wanted to do by myself.
In conclusion, if you are hoping to study abroad, you have to be well-prepared. Also, make sure you know what your personal purpose behind studying abroad is, and remind yourself on a regular basis of it when you are lost.
< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >