#StudyAbroadBecause We Learn, Grow, and Become Better Humans

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Hello. I'm Marcelle. My first international trip was in my early twenties when I went to the USA to study abroad. Now, I've been to 15 countries (and counting) and love exploring new places. Study abroad is something that I believe everyone should do. And I'll tell you why. 
#StudyAbroadBecause We Learn, Grow, and Become Better Humans

#StudyAbroadBecause We Learn, Grow, and Become Better Humans

What motivated your decision to go abroad? How/why did you choose where to go?
It had always been a dream of mine to live abroad, either in the States or in the UK, to improve my English skills. I knew that if I wanted to stand out with a better fluency in English, I would have to go abroad and be fully immersed in an English speaking environment.

One of my co-workers at the time had just gotten back from the US, where she was in a Work & Study program. I loved listening to her life-changing experiences and I knew I wanted to live that as well. That was the motivation I needed.

I was then sure that the US would be a great choice for me. Not only had I learned the American English my entire school life, but it was also the culture I felt I could adapt better. That's why I chose to go to the States for my year abroad.
Marcelle in the USA. From #StudyAbroadBecause We Learn, Grow, and Become Better Humans

What was your experience like? What is your favorite memory? What were some challenges you observed?
I had THE time of my life when I was studying abroad.

I loved it so much that I ended up staying 1.5 years instead of the 1 year that I initially planned. I was able to learn the language AND improve my pronunciation to the point where some locals would even say I sounded American. That's when I knew I had accomplished my goal: to be fluent in English.

I have so many good memories. I met great people, some became my best friends - and they are my besties to this day...both Americans and foreigners.

I traveled to 7 different American States. I participated in 4 different language courses and also enrolled in other non-language courses.

My first time in NYC. From #StudyAbroadBecause We Learn, Grow, and Become Better Humans

My first time in NYC

I lived the American culture, I experienced American day-to-day life. It's unbelievable how amazing it was. Words just don't do justice to it. It's the kind of experience you have to have at least once in your life so you know how it feels.

Homesickness can be quite challenging for some people. And it definitely was to me too. It took me 2 full months to process all the differences, accept my new lifestyle, be fully adapted and actually enjoy all these changes. In my 3rd month abroad, I was totally over being homesick and I was managing the distance from my family and friends pretty well. I was loving every second of being abroad and I appreciated every moment.

Living abroad makes us more mature and stronger.
#StudyAbroadBecause We Learn, Grow, and Become Better Humans

What skills did you develop from your experience? Do you feel changed from your experience abroad?
I gained more confidence about my Language skills. I was able to even teach English in my home country when I went back.

I had always been independent but after my experience overseas, I got twice as much independent. I would travel solo if I had the chance to travel but had no one to come with me. I would go to the movies alone if my friends were busy or out of town.

And another thing that's happened to me was that I was less shy and communicated better with people I didn't know. I guess the situation makes us adapt to whatever comes. Because we're in a foreign country without our family and usually no friends, it forces us to be more communicative. We are on our own. So if we don't talk to people we don't know yet, we're never gonna meet anyone or have anyone to hang out with. That was the greatest change on me. I'm very shy and I find it hard to make new friends, but yet I had to get around to it.
Ice skating in Chicago. From #StudyAbroadBecause We Learn, Grow, and Become Better Humans

Ice skating in Chicago

Has your experience helped you get to where you are today? 
Oh yeah. Studying abroad has definitely helped me succeed in my work life. I was working in an entry-level job in the call center industry when I decided to study abroad. It was my very first job. I actually liked the job but I wasn't making good money.

A couple months after coming back from my study abroad time, I was able to get a great job at an international bank. It was amazing how being fluent in English and having an international experience has led me to get a job that paid me over 3 times more of what I was making in my first job.
#StudyAbroadBecause We Learn, Grow, and Become Better Humans

What advice would you share with other students who are thinking of going abroad?
My advice is always: save some good money before you go abroad. And I say this because no matter what happens, money can usually help you with life situations - whether it's changing schools, doing another course, traveling on school break, buying expensive books, affording tuition, moving to a different student apartment, or even medical expenses. Having money gives you more freedom to decide what to do when things like this happen.
#StudyAbroadBecause We Learn, Grow, and Become Better Humans

How has international education impacted or influenced your cultural identity?
My international experience has totally influenced my cultural likes and preferences. I don't like the same old tv shows I used to. My taste in music has changed, as well. Now, even without living in an English speaking country, I try to surround myself with English as much as I can, from putting the settings of my phone and tv in English to listening to North American talk shows.

Whenever I have to Google anything, it's always in English. I also prefer watching the news on International tv channels as well as reading European and American magazines. I didn't have those habits before going abroad. Even my eating habits are different.

I discover a whole new me whenever I experience another culture - and I love it!
#StudyAbroadBecause We Learn, Grow, and Become Better Humans

Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
No one knows how important it is to go overseas and how it helps us grow until you actually live abroad and experience it yourself.

Find me online: http://whyipost.com/

#StudyAbroadBecause We Learn, Grow, and Become Better Humans. It changes our entire life in the greatest possible way!

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#StudyAbroadBecause We Learn, Grow, and Become Better Humans


All photos courtesy and copyright Marcelle, of WhyIPost