Carly studied in China on the CIEE: Shanghai Program.
If you could give only one reason, why would you suggest other students study abroad?
The world that we as college students know thus far is perhaps not small, but rather an incomplete representation of what the world truly looks like. Most of the world and the people within it carry out lives much different from our own. If you want to figure out a little bit about yourself and your place in the world, I think taking a step outside of your circle will provide a new perspective on those things. And- it’s just fun. You can make new friends in a unique setting of learning and exploring.
What specific factors influenced your decision to go abroad?
For me, it was originally about learning language and simply discovering a place outside of what I had previously been exposed to. I hadn’t ever traveled with my family, and the idea of somehow being able to travel halfway across the earth was humbling and groundbreaking for me. I love language; just even learning language for the fun of it. The more Chinese I learned though, the more dedicated I became to the idea that I would see it through. I was really afraid of leaving home and going so far away all alone, but I knew that it was a opportunity I would forever regret not taking if I hadn’t ended up going.
If you could go abroad again, what would you do differently?
I would plan more: what do I want to do? Where do I want to go? And what do I want to see? You will only see as much as you open your eyes for- if you are looking for things to be just different, or just the same, then they perhaps will be just that.
Don’t fear using that language that you love: it’s okay to make mistakes, and the only way you get better is through hard work and practice. Speak to locals, make conversation even if it puts you out of your comfort zone. If I could go abroad again, I would embrace the awkwardness and fear that comes with being in a new place and speaking a new language, and I would use it, rather than run away from it as I did at times.