The opportunity to study abroad is truly a rare and unique experience for anyone who gets to do it. Different programs allow students from all over the world to spend various stretches of time in other countries which they may have never gone to or seen before. Despite the wonderful opportunity that is presented, it does come with its own set of difficulties. Of course, these include being fairly far from home, not knowing many (if any) of the people around you upon arrival, and being confronted with others' stereotypes about you based on where you're from.
Stereotypes are often negative portrayals of groups of people that can have negative impacts on their relationships with others, which is especially problematic when studying abroad. Many people around you, whether they do it consciously or not, will likely compare you to their stereotypical knowledge of people who come from the same place you do. At the very least, they are likely to notice when you act in a stereotypical fashion based on their knowledge of where you're from.
Americans are most commonly associated with many negative stereotypes. Often portrayed as rude, ignorant, selfish, and generally immature, many people in other countries do not have a high opinion of Americans in their country. Americans who study abroad have to face these stereotypes and try to break them. For some, this can be relatively easy, especially those who never fit these negative stereotypes. It can be extremely difficult for others who do fit these stereotypes in certain regards, and especially those who are surrounded by others who wholeheartedly believe in these stereotypes.
If anything, studying abroad and being faced with these stereotypes can actually be a positive experience. When being confronted with these stereotypes, it allows you to take a good look at yourself in the mirror and decide whether or not these stereotypes hold up for you. If they don't for the most part, it allowed you the opportunity to take a good look at yourself and do some solid reflection. If they do, it's an opportunity to look at yourself and your behaviors that most likely perpetuate those negative stereotypes. Being able to look in the mirror and admit that there are some negative qualities that are represented through you is the first step to moving forward and breaking out of those stereotypes. Of course, doing this will not be easy, since change does not happen overnight, but the process of changing is a constant one, so getting started is truthfully the most difficult part of it. In the end, once these changes get started, they are difficult, if not impossible to stop, so hopefully busting through those negative stereotypes will end up being a breeze.