Alexis studied in New Zealand at the University of Waikato program.
What concerns/fears did you have about studying abroad, and how did you overcome them?
I was concerned about being able to balance my classes and grades while still getting the most out of my study abroad semester. Luckily, the curriculum for the classes I took at my university allowed for a large amount of free time as I only had lectures two days a week. I learned how to manage my time to ensure I spent enough of my energy and efforts on maintaining my grades as your scores abroad directly affect your GPA at Penn State. I was able to allot a good amount of my time in New Zealand to exploring the beautiful country.
How have you used the skills you learned abroad now that you are back; either in job searching, or in other activities?
While abroad I learned how to be a more independent individual. Traveling to the other side of the world not knowing anyone there, teaches you how to heavily rely on yourself. The traveling I did alone while in my host country showed me that I am able to tackle any adversity thrown my way. I returned home with a stronger sense of self and a greater confidence than before my time abroad.
What advice would you give to outbound study abroad students to help them make the most out of their study abroad experiences?
Be outgoing and open to everything, even if it makes you a little uncomfortable! Some of my greatest memories from my semester abroad come from times I said ‘yes’ to something I knew was outside of my comfort zone. The more people you meet and the more activities you become involved with, the better your time abroad will be. Getting the most out of your study abroad experience is heavily influenced by the people you surround yourself with and the ways you choose to spend your free time.