For some students the study abroad experience amounts merely to checking off destinations and tourist attractions on their bucket list.
GEO feels a bit sorry for these students.
Why? Because studying abroad provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to “lean in” to the challenge of immersing yourself in a new culture and putting down some roots. We believe that a study abroad experience can and should be much more than a string of selfies snapped in front of tourist attractions.
GEO invites you to think of your study abroad experience as an opportunity to dig deeper into the host culture, to establish real friendships, to gain insights and awareness of who you are and your place in the world. We hope you will begin to think beyond borders and about ways to cultivate a more inclusive, collaborative, and socially responsible mindset.
Create a Student Mindset
GEO would like for you to get into the mindset of being a part of your new community, not just a visitor. Here are some suggestions on how to do this:
- Go beyond your comfort zone and take smart risks because you want to learn.
- Be culturally and environmentally conscientious; the locals will like you better!
- Seek to understand – rather than judge – your host culture, its people, and its values.
- Focus on developing mutually meaningful connections with the local people and community. Join clubs, activities, athletic teams, choral groups, or take place in local adventures.
- Do research on the local cuisine and learn how to cook it yourself. Food is an excellent window into the values of the local culture.
- English seems very pervasive in the world, but don’t just assume everyone speaks it. Try to learn as much as you can of the local language to have meaningful conversations with your new community members and to give you more insight on your host culture.
- Question actions or beliefs inconsistent with yours in a safe and respectful way.