Dominik Olejniczak during his first time in Bolder, Colorado.Dominik Olejniczak
Have you ever thought it would be scary, or maybe fun, to study abroad? If you have, but you haven’t shared this idea with anyone, keep reading. If your destination is Europe, I can explain the whole process.
Studying abroad certainly provides many lifetime experiences and benefits. However, in order to gain that priceless experience, you will have to give up something, because the world is constructed so that you have to give to get.
As the famous rapper, Drake, says in one of his songs: “It is what it is. Trust me you get what you give. Yeah.” I believe many people are aware of that fact, and I am going to tell you with 100 percent honesty, you should not be afraid of that experience.
I am from Torun, Poland. After I graduated from high school in my country, I decided to continue my post high school education in the United States. Certainly, my study abroad will be different from yours, because you probably will be going somewhere close to where I came from. However, the struggles, rules, sacrifices and, most importantly, the benefits will be the same.
You probably are wondering what type of sacrifices you will have to face.
1. Homesickness: Assuming you will be leaving your home and family right after graduating from high school, you should be about 17 years old. You might think you are about to be or already are an adult, but after that first few weeks in a different country, you most likely will be homesick.
I got to know many other foreign students in the United States, and despite our differences, the one thing we have in common is that we all love our families. Not being able to see them is, without a doubt, a tough experience. However, we are living in the 21st century, and everyone has a smartphone with 10 different applications that enable you to talk with your parent “face to face” and with wifi everywhere where you go.
2. Language barrier: For some people, language probably will be the deciding factor for not studying abroad. I believe many of you think it might be difficult to take classes in a language different from your own. You are right. At first, it will be. However, that should not stop you from getting that amazing experience.
After the first two or three months, you will start noticing that you understand your professors, the books, and that you are able to have conversations with people. From that point on, it will only get better. So, you should look at the language barrier as an opportunity, because living in a foreign country is the best and fastest way to learn a language.
3. Food: Food should be the least concern for studying abroad. The food in Europe is much better. In Europe, there is no such thing as “organic products,” which cost double the price of “non-organic products.” There, everything is organic, but it does not have a label on it.
You will love that you will find meat markets around every corner, bakeries where the workers are baking fresh bread before you even wake up, and fresh vegetables markets are EVERYWHERE.
4. Culture: Another thing you might be worried about is adjusting to a different culture. It might take some time to understand the way of another country, and sometimes not knowing what is expected might get you in trouble. However, as I stated before, we are living in the 21st century, and people are more understanding of other’s differences. Many people will find your differences charming and interesting.
For example, you might notice that you do not say “Hello” to random people on the street in Europe. I had to adjust to saying “Hello” to random people on streets after I arrived in the United States. You will notice and adjust to these small things quickly and eventually find them interesting.
5. Money: Some of you might think that living in Europe could be more expensive than living in the United States. However, a European is telling you that this is not the case. For the fresh bread from bakery, you will pay about $1. For a basket full of fresh fruits and vegetables, you will pay another $7-8. Dinner at a fancy restaurant should not be over $20. The only thing you might notice is that we DO NOT do refills in Europe. However, this will help keep you healthy.
Although, there are some things to consider about studying abroad, you will be overwhelmed with benefits, and the experiences which you will gain are a once in a lifetime opportunity that nobody can take away from you.
If you think you may want to study abroad, go ahead. Do not think twice about it.