I have to admit that going on exchange has forged my personality…

  • Learning a foreign language: This was my main purpose of a staying abroad, to become bilingual or almost. It must be said that I practiced my foreign languages (English and Spanish) in every aspect of everyday life. My classes were not in French, I had to speak another language, in my case it was English in class and Spanish at every day interaction while shopping, and as long as I stayed with a host family, I had to speak Spanish as well! A total immersion that allowed me to rapidly assimilate a new language.
  • Meeting people from all over the world: Back in Morocco, people told me that I would experience what is called “culture shock». But no, trust me you will certainly not be the only one in your university to do a university exchange. You will be able to live with students from other nationalities and make friendships with them which can help you feel like if you are in second family. If you live in a student campus, you will be in the company of students from all over the world. The opportunity or never to learn more about other cultures and to have exciting exchanges! You can also stand together with other young people in the same situation as you, and overcome the blues of the first weeks together.
  • Boosting my resume: Above all, the objective of our exchange is to acquire new linguistic and professional knowledge. So an exchange abroad will be a plus on your resume that will attract many recruiters. Recruiters are increasingly interested in an excellent foreign language level. A stay abroad is a big advantage on your CV. Not only does it prove that you are fluent in a foreign language, but it also demonstrates your openness and initiative. Yes, not all students try the adventure of living abroad! In addition, an experience may allow you to expand your network, which is also a good point.
  • Getting familiar with other methods of learning and work: Taking courses at a foreign university has allowed me to discover other approaches to treat a discipline. During my 6-month exchange, I had the opportunity to tame other ways of working and to experiment new practices that fit into my previous knowledge to create new and more diverse knowledge. It will be an important asset for my future job.
  • Empowering myself and building my independence: To succeed and enjoy your studies abroad, it is essential to know how to cope with all circumstances. Finding accommodation, for example, even with the help of a university organization, is not easy because habits and practices are sometimes very different. I learned to manage my budget and to take care of myself alone. So I think that gaining this autonomy will allow any student to push beyond his limits, overcome difficulties and gain confidence.

Going abroad when you are a student is an attractive prospect. To go for an exchange, it is not only for studies but it is also for discovery of other cultures, we can say that it is a means of intercultural exchange. For me it was not an exchange but rather an adventure, the most that marked me in this adventure are travel like they say “travels form youth”. Thanks to this exchange, I visited many European countries and I met many people whom I never thought I would met and who impacted me. So I have to admit that going on exchange forge personality and it’s a project with multiple advantages, the main one being to build a future.

Valuable piece of advice…

By taking my friends and me as a sample, leaving in exchange in Madrid, after a stay in a hotel I found myself obliged to find accommodation near the university and it was chaos. The first constraint was the limited budget and the second was the language barrier. So I had the choice between a family home and university residence. The advantage of the host family is that it’s cheaper and as its name suggests, you live with a family that is generally well rooted in the culture of the country. But everything depends on the purpose of your stay. If you want to improve your Spanish (or any other language), living with native people is the best choice: in the evening, you can chat around a good meal, in an informal setting. It’s a good workout! But above all, in this way, you really absorb the culture of the country, its gastronomy, its way of life, etc. In short, you live like a native. And with a little luck, you even participate in the everyday events that your host family organizes (visits, receptions, etc.). The disadvantage, however, is that you may be able to live with older people, children, teenagers … Student life is not the same as in residence, it is a certainty. In addition, a host family has every right to impose certain rules on you, so you have to prepare to give up certain freedoms… The student residence, though it is expensive, it has some advantages: You usually rub shoulders with students from around the world, which can be really rewarding. You go abroad to discover another culture, and at the same time, you discover many others. Generally, you can choose to live alone or as a roommate. In any case, you have the chance to live in autonomy, without imposed rules, and especially to participate actively in the student life of the residence, or even your host city. Yet, you may not meet many native people. As for learning the language, it is more complicated.

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