For this blog post I was able to interview two different EAPAs from the Education Abroad office. I asked them about their experiences abroad in hopes that I can inform you with some tips about packing, dealing with homesickness, and much more. I interviewed Allison Gant, a junior majoring in secondary English with a minor in Spanish, who studied abroad with ISA fall 2016 in Granada, Spain, and Macy Goetz majoring in accounting and marketing with a minor in international business who studied abroad in Cyprus with Global Semester fall semester 2016.
First off, I asked them if they were ever nervous about anything before studying abroad and why. Turns out they were both nervous for different things. Allison told me that she was nervous because of the language barrier. She was learning Spanish, but she felt that even still, she wasn’t 100% confident about it. Macy was nervous about getting homesick. Being at UK and her family being nearby, she always felt like she could see them, but then going away to Cyprus created a distance. I then asked them both if they ever did get homesick and what would be the best ways to cope with it if so. Allison said that she did at some points and when that happened she would facetime friends and family, and to try and get herself out of these funks she would really focus on her experience. Macy informed me that due to how busy she was, she really didn’t get homesick except around Thanksgiving. During this time she actually she went to KFC with other American students and that helped her cope with it. With staying in touch with family when getting homesick, it’s also smart to think about what phone plan you want to have during your time abroad. Macy used wifi on her American cell while abroad and Allison had an international plan with her American phone provider. Think about these options as well as getting a phone plan with your host area. Other packing tips that they told me about where packing clothes that could be layered or mixed and matched with each other for different weather patterns according to Allison. Macy said that she packed as light as she could so she could buy souvenirs and items to bring home.
The last question that I asked Allison and Macy was about personal growth from studying abroad. The main thing that they both told me about was their improved confidence and independence, which I can personally relate to as well. Take their experiences and words of advice to your own programs abroad and hopefully it helps you.
Lauren Bix is a 3rd year senior at the University of Kentucky. Her major is in French and francophone studies and her time abroad was in Caen, Normandy, France, spring semester 2016.