NAME: Jessica Tran
MAJOR: ‘Business Admin/International Business
PROGRAM: South Korea, SJSU Exchange – Kyungpook National University
My goals when studying abroad was learning and experiencing how life is like in another country, as it would be much different than the US. I also wanted to become independent and learn how to care for myself.
I think the biggest impact that my study abroad experience had on me was the independence of taking care of myself. As I was born and raised here, I never was away from my family, and I would have never been able to experience it until most likely after graduation. Going to South Korea all by myself, with no friends or family members with me, was the best thing I decided to do. Being able to navigate my way around a country I have never been to, and the fact that I hardly know the language I find is amazing. Also I believe that since I was there alone, I was able to find myself and take the time to care for myself, which I do not always have the time and opportunity for myself here.
Since every country is different, figuring out how to have the ability to adapt and adjust accordingly would be a great skill to learn. Also since most other countries do not have their main language as English, learning and going through the obstacles of interacting and communicating with the people there in their native language. Also since I knew no one and had no friends, I had to get out of my shell and befriend natives and other foreigners. I never really made friends in my classes in SJSU, but after coming back, I have seen myself interacting and networking with more people. It also made me realize how lucky we are to be attending a university in the US. Foreign students have to take English exams to see if they qualify to study abroad in the US. While for us, we can apply much easier as the schools abroad offer courses taught in English and there is no need to be proficient at their main language.
Studying abroad allowed me to become more prepared for my future. I am now confident in being able to live by myself, putting myself out there and ask people for help, my communicating and networking skills have strengthened, and most importantly taking care of my wellbeing. Also learned how to budgeting my spendings, which I would say was the hardest one handle while abroad.
Advice I would give a future Global Spartan is to not bring as much luggage. It was mentioned multiple times in the orientation and the meeting, but when packing I felt like I needed to bring a lot of things. In reality, I brought many things I did not need. Knowing a little of the language before hand would come in handy, although a good amount of people would probably be able to help you even if you do not know the language. Also know which apps to download before arriving to your study abroad location, as you will be using those apps on a daily basis.