Do You Want to be an Exchange Student? Read This First!January 19, 2023 2023-01-19 10:08
Do You Want to be an Exchange Student? Read This First!
Do You Want to be an Exchange Student? Read This First!
With the lifting of travel restrictions as the pandemic started to ebb, university students again have the opportunity to spend a semester or two in another university abroad as an exchange student.
Time is short and opportunities to learn much abound, so what can some of MUIC’s outbound exchange students advise to their younger schoolmates who are also considering to study abroad? Here are three such exchange students with their hard-earned advice.
Mr. Warit “Shop” Trikasemsak
4th Year International Business
- Have an open mind. Going abroad will inevitably put you in a position and place that is most likely outside of your comfort zone. You might enter a restaurant and hear the sound of slurping or be strolling around town and see a man having a midday beer while on lunch break or having dinner at 9 p.m., which may be completely normal in certain parts of the world but utterly bizarre where you come from. Having an open mind will let you immerse yourself into their world and understand the fascinating differences.
- Adapt, improvise, and overcome—in other words, take the initiative. When you first arrive, yes it will be difficult; yes you won’t have any friends; yes you will miss home. But you’re already there, there is no turning back, and the reason you are there is probably because you wanted to be there in the first place! You are the outsider amongst them and you have to find your place and acquaint yourself with the people around you otherwise you’ll hate your time abroad and by the time you are comfortable around your company and appreciate their presence, it’ll be time to head back home and you will regret all the time that you could’ve spent and cherished with them. So, start early!
- Say “Yes” to everything. The saying “You miss every shot that you don’t take” is very real. Therefore, take every opportunity that arises and don’t regret anything. Saying yes will keep you preoccupied and help you discover yourself in the process. Some “Yes’s” will be more enjoyable than others, but in the end, these are the memories you will cherish and reminisce about for the rest of your life.
Ms. Saranya “Sharon” Honghimaphan
3rd Year Biological Science, Minor in Psychology
- Attend all or most of the orientation events offered by the university. Whether small and simple or big and extravagant, attend all of them. This is because it is the best opportunity for you to meet new people and make friends. Some friends I made during that week have now become my closest friends as well. Take the initiative, and do not be afraid to be the one who starts the conversation. Your confidence will attract many people. Time passes very quickly!
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Whether this is asking directions from a stranger or even asking for help or asking your professors about the class lesson. This is because all these people are very open and would gladly help others. The professors and teaching assistants encourage and feel happy when students ask questions. Don’t be afraid of your accent or language or your status as an exchange student. I assure you people are more willing to help and be there for you.
- Learn how to budget. Victoria is a very expensive city and even with the scholarship grant that I received from the Canadian government, I used up most of it. However, it would’ve been worse if I had not budgeted—I would have overspent. Yes, being in a new country makes you want to explore new places and taste the food and have new experiences but I have learned that it is still possible to do all of them if you budget carefully. Some of you might think that you have the money to spend but trust me some things are worth more saving and spending more for. This was how I was able to visit Vancouver several times and even go and stay in a town called Whistler for three days.
Ms. Prada “Pinin” Pattanukul
3rd Year Intercultural Studies and Languages (Foreign Language: German)
- Know your goals. Goals are important for doing the exchange program. If you know what your goals are, you will feel more motivated. You should ask yourself, “Why do I want to be an exchange student?” For learning a language, changing the education environment, or creating connections with new people. One of the reasons why I chose Austria is that I want to learn German. So, whenever I feel homesick I always tell myself that I should accomplish the goal I have set before going home. Only then can I feel motivated and continue my exchange program.
- Thinking positively and being strong. We cannot deny that European culture is really different from Asian culture. In the beginning, it was so hard for me to adapt to their culture. I always got homesick and missed my family and friends in Thailand. It takes some time to get used to be away from one’s home country. You should be thinking all the time. Do not let some toxic and depressing thought get you. Always be strong, since you need to get through the problems you never had. Every problem will make you more mature. Just be strong and try to get over it. After that, you will have the best life!
- Just do it. You have decided to get out of the country and do something new! Explore the world, try new things, or learn new stuff! You will only be in that country for one semester or two. Do not have to worry about others’ thoughts. You might have only one chance to do it, so take it. Do not be afraid to be the one who talks to others first and be the one that always invites everyone to hang out. It is one of the easiest ways to find friends. Do not be afraid to travel alone—you will learn something from it. And do not stop believing in yourself! You can do anything you want to do or try. Gain as much experience as possible!
Are you eager to be an exchange student?
Learn more by clicking this link!
Not sure yet where to go?
Check out MUIC’s list of partner universities abroad: https://muic.mahidol.ac.th/eng/study-abroad/partner-universities/