My name is Veronica and I am currently studying in Paris. Paris is a beautiful city. For me personally I would never be able to afford to live and study abroad for 5 months if it weren’t for UHM Study Abroad program. The most lucrative aspect is that I get to travel and live abroad while still earning college credits! A professor once told me that the greatest rewards are obtained when operating outside of your comfort zone. Though traveling abroad let alone studying abroad may seem intimidating for some, it falls away quite quickly once you settle in and build new relationships. In my experience, the most stressful aspect was in preparing to leave the states. The visa process was nerve wracking. To be honest, however everything worked out smoothly.
The Study Abroad Center does a really great job of preparing students in terms of what to expect and basics that help while traveling abroad. Although in the moment the orientations may seem unnecessary for some, they are essential for all of us! When nervous about things that can go wrong, just know that this moment/opportunity will only happen once in a lifetime and you will be so happy you took that leap. In my case everything went according to plan until I arrived at the airport in Paris. The airline lost my luggage and I missed my pick-up from the airport due to the lengthy process of filing a claim with the airline. The orientations kicked in, and I remembered the discussion on transportation and how to maneuver within it. I was able to find my way to the host home without a glitch! However, I can tell you even what I considered in my brain to be the worst case scenario before embarking on this journey it was not terrible. I was able to stay calm and collected, and I just gave in to the entire experience.
The first week was a bit tough, attending orientations while still dealing with jet lag and all. I see now how crucial it was to establishing a routine that made it easier to fall in to the rhythm and new time zone. You will be surprised at how quickly a new foreign place becomes familiar. Being in a situation such as studying abroad helps you tap into different aspects of yourself that you may not have known existed. Taking in a new culture, making new friends and seeing and experiencing new things are well worth taking that chance!