More than a trip to study and work, the exchange is an experience full of learnings that are brought in a suitcase and carried for a lifetime. Some of them, like speaking the foreign language naturally, could take years to be learned in the country where we live, while others serve for the student to look at life with more wisdom and maturity. Check out five fundamental things that studying abroad teaches you.
Speak like a native
Even if you study for hours and hours another language, it will be difficult for you to perfectly absorb the accent and incorporate slang and local terms as in an exchange program. Direct, daily contact with native speakers and foreign writing makes the brain process the new language, just as a baby learns to speak. Thus, the probability of returning fluent after a one-year exchange is much higher than if you studied here for the same period.
Get out of the comfort zone
Separating yourself from friends and family, in addition to leaving behind the routine you are used to, is more than a change: it is a real challenge! After all, in a foreign country you will have to live with other people, landscapes, flavors and activities, which will make you leave your comfort zone and learn to get by. If one day, for example, you need to go somewhere alone and you only have the map in your hands, you will have to ask the residents you meet along the way and locate yourself using the local signs. Other situations can also make you feel lost at first, but they will serve as great lessons!
Get rid of stereotyped views
If you think that a certain dish is not tasty or that certain people are less friendly, simply by appearance or by what you have heard about, you will have to deconstruct these views. That’s because in an exchange you not only get to know the local culture, but also students from all over the world, making you hear the most varied experiences and check, in practice, what is true or not. So, in a few months you can be friends with a Spaniard and be tasting African dishes that he learned to cook, for example – experiences that you never imagined having or that you denied out of pure ignorance that they were incredible.
Organize your own things
Regardless of whether or not you are an organized person, you will learn to be on your exchange. Keeping your belongings tidy will make your life easier, and that too can only be done by you. Remember that in the new house it is important that you organize your items yourself, because, although the family is very receptive, they will not always be able to do everything for you.
The value of gratitude
As soon as you arrive at the study destination, you will begin to be grateful for everything you have lived in your country, especially all the lessons learned from your family. During your studying abroad, you will also learn to appreciate even more the favors that new friends do to help you and all the support you will receive from a distance from those who left here. “Thank you” will become a very frequent word, regardless of the language in which it is spoken.