The Reality of Studying Abroad

By Emily Crousore 

Studying abroad hosts an experience many college students are offered; however, it is one that can be easily looked past. Many factors play into whether a person can study abroad, such as financial eligibility, responsibilities at home, commitments on campus or plain old fear. However, many University of Alabama students who are currently abroad are here to share their experiences and realities while doing it.

University of Alabama Education Abroad’s mission is, “to foster inquisitive, compassionate, and engaged global citizens through the transformative international experiences as a commitment to the intellectual and social advancement of The University of Alabama.” If this mission statement sounds intriguing, then studying abroad may just be for you!

The three most important things about studying abroad are immersion, patience, and leaning into the uncomfortableness.

Attempting to Immerse:

Immersing yourself in a new culture is the most important thing you can do while studying abroad. This could be as simple as trying new food or as elaborate as committing to learning the language with locals.

The best way to immerse yourself is by asking questions and learning from the people who live there. If there is a language barrier, use a translation app, but do not let that stray you from learning from the people who know best. Challenge yourself every day to find a new way to embrace the culture of the city where you are studying.

Having Patience:

When traveling to a new country, it takes some time to adjust. You must be patient with yourself as you are going through this change. As the days go on, you will begin to understand the culture of your new home, as well as your body will begin to adjust to the time change if there is a significant one.

You may get frustrated the first few days as you have not built roots yet in this new place, but if you are patient, you will see your progress through just the first week. Offer yourself tons of grace and do not be afraid to ask for help!

Being Uncomfortable:

When experiencing a new culture outside the one you have lived in, you may feel uncomfortable at first. However, this feeling does not have to be a bad thing. When trying to figure out a new place, it may be scary, and you may panic at the beginning. Hang tight – you will get there.

Although, once you lean into the idea of being uncomfortable, the walls of fear will break, and this feeling will begin to decrease. Again, it is not a bad thing to feel this way, but it is a challenge if you let it dictate your study abroad experience!

If studying abroad interests you, read more about it at

Emily Crousore is the Lifestyle Editor for Alice Magazine. She is currently a junior at the University of Alabama majoring in public relations and has a self-designed news media writing minor. Along with Alice Magazine, Emily works as a copy associate for Capstone Agency and is a C&IS ambassador.