- “Your accent is so cute!”
Whether you say “y’all,” “soda pop,” or “howdy,” while you’re abroad, someone will comment on it. Don’t shy away from it—embrace it! Your accent will remind you of where you came from and what you are working toward.
- You will make a fool of yourself at least once
I traveled to Australia before America had gotten chip readers, even though our credit cards had chips. For the first few days, I was constantly swiping my card and getting funny looks from the natives. Whether it’s swiping your car instead of inserting it, getting lost, or confidently mixing up your foreign language, you’ll end up making a fool of yourself at least once. It’ll give you funny stories to tell when you get home.
- Little pieces of their lifestyle will amaze you
America’s lifestyle is go-go-go all the time; in Australia, they rarely give specific times for anything because they are so laid back. While I had read about how other cultures are like this, you can never quite understand it until you’re living in it. I was amazed with how happy people in Australia are simply because they weren’t constantly going and worrying about being late. Being back home, I strive to live a more laid-back life like Australians do.
- Homesick moments
No matter how many times you go abroad, you will always get a little homesick. Just remember that you’re going to have an enriching experience with a variety of people that you probably wouldn’t meet otherwise. It will pass; engulf yourself in your undertakings and enjoy the time you have abroad.
- You will experience “FOMO”
The fear of missing out while you’re abroad is real. Whether it be sorority or fraternity events, your best friend’s birthday, or the adoption of a family dog, you’ll miss something while you’re abroad. Just remember than you’re embarking in an experience of a life time and you will have plenty of time to swap stories when you’re home.
- You’re going to get sick
You’re in a new country with new people and new germs—you are bound to get sick. Relax, your program sent you abroad with health insurance. You can go to the doctor and get medicine—you’ll feel better in no time!
- “Oh-you’re from Kentucky! I love your chicken!”
I couldn’t wear anything with Kentucky on it without being connected to KFC. Use this opportunity to enlighten people about the true beauty and culture of Kentucky.
- Plans will change
For all the planners out there, this is for YOU. You can plan as much as you want, things will always change. Weather might impede your plans, you might miss a flight or a train, or you might need to study for a difficult class-just remember that everything happens for a reason and go with the flow.
- You will miss class
While education is the most important aspect of an education abroad program, other aspects of your program are also important. Learning time management, how to get along with others in all situations, new cultures, and creating memories that will last a lifetime.
- You’ll fall in love with the location, people, and culture
“You will never be completely at home again because a part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of knowing and loving more than one place.” –Unknown
Erin Daugherty is a senior pursing a degree in Equine Science and Management with minors in Business and Agricultural Economics. She studied abroad the summer of 2015 in Sydney and Brisbane, Australia with the “Equine Down Under” program. Erin witnessed and studied the Australian equestrian community and hopes to use some of their innovations to improve America’s equine industry.