​14 Experiences Students Have While In Study-Abroad Limbo

​14 Experiences Students Have While In Study-Abroad Limbo

"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

Study abroad programs offer students the opportunity to earn institutional credit taking courses at a foreign or domestic partner institution. With the exception of travel and personal expenses, students usually can study abroad for the same cost of attending their home institution. Add to those factors encouragement from professors and study-abroad grants offered internally and externally, you almost have to work harder not to study abroad. If you go, you will learn more about yourself, for better or worse, than you would have staying at home. Whether you spend your time embarking on meticulously planned adventures or go in blind with no other goal than having the time of your life, here are 14 experiences you most certainly will return having had:

1. Packing the essentials

It’s amazing both how much and how little two 50-lbs suitcases will hold. With clothing especially, luggage volume is the biggest issue, and bed sheets are the worst culprit. Be prepared to buy sheets as soon as you arrive, or prepare for nights spent freezing in your room as you attempt to fight frostbite and sleep.

2. Learning to navigate with a map

This is a valuable life skill you probably will only learn away from home. Because your phone will die while you are exploring the city. Bonus points for running out of juice despite bringing an extra battery. (Negative points if you bring it but forgot to charge it.)

3. Taking more pictures than you ever have

If you were not a photographer before your study abroad, you will become one. If you do not, you will regret it. The same goes for journaling. Your study abroad might be once-in-a-lifetime, which means your photos and memories will be too, so chronicle as much as possible.

4. Having fun away from home friends

It’s hard to imagine, but you can have a good time away from your best friends at college. That doesn’t mean you will miss them less, but it’s comforting to know you can find good people everywhere.

5. Managing long-distance relationships

Whether with friends or significant others, the LDR struggle is real. Keeping a blog helps keep people up-to-date, because FaceTime will kill your battery (if your exploring hasn’t already). Most impressive are students with S.O.’s keeping up with a 13-hour time difference. And Couple of the Year goes to . . .

6. Struggling to make the most of the experience

The desire to immerse yourself in the local culture is strong. Resist it. You have too much to do, and it’s easy to forget the first part of “work-life balance” is the reason you can have a life. Content yourself with tourist-level immersion until you eventually move there. (Because you’re actually studying there to find your dream house.)

7. Learning the customs of other cultures

Wherever you are, odds are you will run into students from other countries spending a semester abroad. This is the perfect opportunity to go out for dinner with your international friends and play truth-or-dare. It’s a fun way to get to know your colleagues personally and about their respective culture generally. (Pro tip: “Yo mama” jokes know no cultural boundaries. Nor does freestyle rap.)

8. Meeting people from your hometown

It’s a small world after all. 1000 miles from home, you can still meet someone who’s been to Terre Haute, Indiana. Which reminds you . . .

9. Remembering to call home

Probably unnecessary because the fam will be calling incessantly, but it’s nice to call every now and then to show you care as well. Plus, your frequent calls will tire them out eventually so they stop calling so often. And if not, you might learn calling home isn’t so bad, now is it?

10. Adapting old habits to a new location

Eating habits especially. Unless you have the time and means to travel to the grocer’s and cook for yourself, you should take what you can get. If you’re allergic to a laundry list of ingredients, consider a university program instead of a homestay. Nothing is more embarrassing than routinely refusing the cooking of your host family. Mother will not be happy.

11. Taking the wrong bus

For two hours. While hangry. With a dead cellphone. But after the first time, you’ll never make that mistake again (at least for another week).

12. Fully appreciating your knowledge of the English language

Two speakers of different native languages started dating after one visited the other’s home country. How did they start a relationship not knowing the other’s native language? Duh, they both spoke English. Can we add English to the list of romance languages please?

13. Receiving homework assignments about your study abroad experience

You mean I get credit hours for having fun at historical landmarks and national parks? Hi, I’d like to request a course overload please.

14. Returning home a different person

All experience results in change. Your study abroad may be a unique time of personal growth and discovery. Don’t be surprised when you return home if you have left a part of yourself in the country where you studied. If you do that, then no matter where you are, you’ll always be studying abroad.

Cover Image Credit: media.licdn.com

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Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Because most other majors can't kill someone accidentally by adding wrong.

College is hard. Between studying for numerous amounts of tests and balancing eating, working out, maintaining a social life, and somehow not breaking your bank account, it’s no wonder a common conversation among students is “how many mental breakdowns did you have this week?” Every major will pose its own challenges; that’s truth. Nursing school, however, is a special kind of tough that only other nursing majors can understand.

SEE ALSO: Quit Bashing Radford University

Nurses are the backbone and unsung hero of healthcare. Their job is to advocate for the patient, collaborate care among all other healthcare team members, carry out physician orders, recognize and report patient progress (or lack thereof), run interference for the patient with any unwanted visitors, research and validate evidence based practice, all while maintaining a certain aurora of confidence for patients and their loved ones that “everything will be okay” and “I’ve got this under control”. If that sounds like a lot; that’s because it is. The majority of skills that we learn that make good nurses cannot actually be taught in theory classes. It’s the hours of actual practice and a certain knack for caring for people- all people- that makes a good nurse great. The countless, unrelenting hours that are spent on the floor in clinical humble us, we know that we’re not great yet, but we’re trying.

Our professors expect us to be humble as well. Nurses do not seek gold stars for their actions, instead the precedence that is set for us to that we “do the right thing because it is the right thing to do”. Most nursing programs grading scales are different. To us, a failing grade isn’t actually getting a 69 or lower, it’s an 80. And that makes sense; no one would want a nurse who only understand 70% of what is happening in the body. We have to understand the normal body response, what happens when things go wrong, why it happens the way it does, and how to properly intervene. We want to learn, it interests us, and we know that the long theory classes and the hard days on the floor are just to make us better. However, any triumph, anytime you do well, whatever small victory that may feel like for you, it just what is supposed to happen- it’s what is expected, and we still have much to learn.

I look back on my decision to take on nursing school, and I often find myself questioning: why? There are so many other majors out there that offer job security, or that help people, or would challenge me just as much. But, when I think of being a nurse- it’s what fulfills me. There’s something that the title holds that makes me feel complete (and that same fact is going to resonate with anyone who wants to love their job). I wouldn’t change the decision I made for anything, I love what I am learning to do and I feel that it’s part of what makes me who I am. The other students who I have met through nursing school are some of the most amazing people I have ever come into contact with, and the professors have helped me understand so much more about myself than I thought possible.

Nursing is treating and understanding the human response. Meaning that it’s not just the disease process, or the action of the medication, or the care that we provide, but that nurses treat the way in which people deal, react, feel, and cope with good news, bad news, terrible procedures, hospital stays and being completely dependent on other people. And the fact of the matter is that all people are different. There is no one magic treatment that will always work for every patient. In addition to course work, the clinical hours, the passion and drive to want to be a nurse, and the difficulty that comes with any medical profession, we have to understand each individual patient, as people and not their illness. And, in order to do that so much self discovery goes on each day to recognize where you are and how you are coping with everything coming your way.

What is taught in nursing school goes far beyond just textbook information or step by step procedures. We have to learn, and quickly, how to help and connect with people on a level which most struggle to accomplish in a lifetime. It's a different kind of instruction, and it either takes place quickly or not at all. The quality of nurse you become depends on it. Nursing school is different, not harder or better than any other school, just different.

SEE ALSO: Stop Putting Down Radford University

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Body Image Lessons That I Didn't Learn From A Professor

What I realized about body image my freshman year of college


Girls usually struggle with self image in general. But the game changes when it's time to go to college. When you are constantly surrounded by your peers, you begin to compare all of the little things they do to you. You compare their bodies to yours. You try to figure out what they are doing that you're not. Or vice versa, why they don't have to do anything to look the way they do. But by the end of my first year, I realized that I would never be happy with myself if I kept thinking this way. So I recorded some realizations I had throughout the year that helped me to improve my body image.

My body is, and never will be the same as any other girl... and that's okay

Different sized and shaped strawberries


It can be so easy in college to compare your body to the girls that surround you. Like the one's live with and you see on a daily basis. There is no point in comparing apples to oranges, so why would you compare your body to a girl who was made completely different? So what you can't fit into her party pants, you can rock another pair just as well.

What works for her, might not work for me

Daily Planner


With different body types, comes different food and exercise needs. Some girls don't need to work out or eat healthy to keep a slim frame. Some girls are naturally muscular. Your routine needs to be catered to you, and there is no need to analyze what someone else eats or does to try to attain their stature. You have to do what feels right for YOUR body to have a good self image.

Don't spend too much time on istagram


Obviously social media effects our body image because of how easily and frequently photos are edited and then presented for the most likes. So if there is a certain account that always makes you feel bad when you see their content, unfollow, and take that aspect out of your life. However, because social media is unavoidable you can't completely escape all the provoking images. So when scrolling, think positively about those who's pictures you see, don't compare, and be aware of the previous lessons.

It's okay for your body to fluctuate


The weight and look of your body can easily fluctuate, It's just natural. And in the same way your life fluctuates, your body may follow along and thats not a big deal! In exam season, there might not be enough time to go to the gym everyday. Or during the holidays there might be an increase of indulgence in treats. But its all okay as long as your getting things done or enjoying life. The only time it becomes an issue if the fluctuations turn unhealthy.

Cut out the negativity


If a friend is constantly complaining to you about their body, it can trigger distress in you, and set you back. So if someone else's body image issues are interfering with you mentally, you need to call them out on their B.S. or stop allowing them say those things in front of you.

Wear clothes that you feel comfortable in


If you wear things that you feel comfortable in, then you wont constantly be thinking about how your stomach, legs, or arms look throughout the day. Wear something that you are confident in, even if it means wearing leggings every day of the week!

I'm not a little kid anymore, therefore my body is not going to look like one


Curves and changes that come after high school can take anyone by surprise, but it's supposed to happen. You can't really be mad at biology...you can only find the beauty in it.

Everyone has their own insecurities


Even if someone has your ideal body, odds are they still despise theirs. I have met friends in college that are stick skinny, yet are self conscious about it. I know curvy girls that are very insecure. And even an "average" body type has a thousand things that they nit-pick about themselves. No one has their dream body and never will, which is why I had to learn to love the little things about mine.

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