Intercultural

3 Things You Should “Not” Do While Studying Abroad

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Olivia Schmidt is a student at the Westminster College and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying with ISA in Sevilla, Spain.

  1. You should “not” explore by yourself. You might get lost; very lost. You probably won’t have data to use GPS on your phone to find your way back, and you most definitely will not want to pull out your map and look like a total tourist. But, you might stumble upon a perfect, little café or ice cream shop. Perhaps you will even enjoy a cup of coffee and discover that spending time by yourself can absolutely be enjoyable. Heck, you could even discover that you’re a pretty cool person to hang out with! You might even fall in love with being alone.
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A charming coffee house I stumbled upon in Toledo, Spain.

  1. You should “not” talk to locals. You may discover that people are inherently kind creatures; creatures who are willing to go out of their way to help those who need pointed in the right direction. You might realize that attempting a conversation in a language other than your own is a completely terrifying, but exhilarating experience. When you see that this person, who does not speak English, understands what you are saying and you realize that you contributed to the conversation, you will be so proud of yourself. Who would’ve thought that a conversation with the lady in Isle 5 at the supermarket could be such an exciting moment?
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Traditional Spanish dish; Paella.

  1. You should “not” try new things. Like new food. Why would you ever want to try local cuisine? Well, maybe because you might fall in love with the paella from the tiny, family-owned restaurant down the street and you’re going to be heart-broken when you go back home and cannot get paella quite like that ever again. Or even kayaking down the Guadalquivir River in Sevilla. Maybe you’ve never been kayaking a day in your life. Why try it now?

Because why not? That’s why.

Why not try new things? Why not venture out of your comfort-zone to talk to strangers who might not speak your native language? What is the worst that could happen? Maybe the lady in the grocery store does not speak English, cannot answer your question, and gives you a puzzled look. Chances are, she will try to help you out in any way she can. Maybe you’ll tip out of your kayak and end up in the river, soaking wet, with your ego only slightly bruised. So what? It makes for a great story!

Study abroad is your chance to grow as a person. It is an opportunity to challenge yourself in ways that have never been possible before and to try all sorts of new things.

So, why not?

The world awaits…discover it.

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