Today’s blog post comes to us from API Alumni and Sam Houston State University student Lindsey Buras! She studied abroad with us in Scotland and is now taking part in our API Global Leadership Academy. Global leaders are able to take their study abroad experience to another level by connecting with other alumni and sharing their stories with future study abroad students. If you’re interested in joining, applications are due January 1st!
“Do you enjoy hearing a lilting accent?
Does your heart beat faster when you see the most magnificent mountains and green rolling hills?
Are you interested in kings, castles, and bloody battles fought over the centuries?
Do you have a strange obsession with anything plaid?
Are you an Outlander fan- either the books or the show?
If you answered yes to any one or all of these, then you will probably want to continue reading this post!
My name is Lindsey, and I found myself saying yes to all of these questions and more a few years ago as I entered the college stage of my life.
I absolutely love traveling and exploring new cultures around the world. Because of this I knew I wanted to study abroad far in advance. This is a very good thing, because as you might imagine, it takes time to get the logistics on a study abroad program ironed out.
I studied at the University of Stirling in Stirling, Scotland for the Spring 2018 semester through API.
I got so much out of this experience, I could write a book instead of a blog post, but I will do my best to keep thing short and sweet.
A few things I either gained or improved on would be life skills such as communication, independence, lifelong friendships, the opportunity to see the world and experience new cultures. These are rather broad benefits, but it truly touches on all the various aspects of your life. Personal, social, educational, world-views, and career outlooks can all change or be enhanced through this experience.
In terms of giving advice, these are my top suggestions to consider if you want to do a study abroad:
1. Start this process as early as possible!
There’s a lot of research and decisions to be made before you start on a long line of paperwork and fundraising for the actual trip itself.
2. Use available resources
Your study abroad office can help you figure out the best fit destination and program for you. They helped me discover API who provided a perfect fit in terms of my destination, school, activities and lifestyle. I seemed to have endless questions, but they were always kind and helpful as I went through the process.
3. Don’t get discouraged!
The application process can get frustrating. From having to research or get classes approved to having to take the extra shifts at work in order to save up for this trip. Trust me- I have been there, but it IS worth it!!! Figure out some of your main motivation for doing this and keep reminding yourself of that. I started following various YouTube channels or Instagram users who travelled around Scotland and took the most gorgeous scenic pictures. It always excited me to think I would be there in a matter of months.
4. And finally, once you arrive: balance getting to know your host country and traveling abroad!
Be sure to take advantage of the ease of traveling when you are abroad (especially in Europe), while you can get cheap flights and train tickets between neighboring countries. However, try not to go on a trip away every single weekend. Get to know your host country and find all the gems residing in their unique culture.
I recently found out less than 10% of college students study abroad! Set yourself apart in the work world and take advantage of this opportunity to see the world before too many things tie you down and make it harder to do. I 100% found it worth it, and you probably will too!”