We touched base with SAI Ambassador Madison, who reminisces about her time abroad.
What did you learn about yourself when you were abroad? How have you changed?
Studying abroad is always something that I wanted to do but I never thought it would have this much of an impact on my life. While I was abroad I gained many self-dependent skills throughout my various adventures. I learned just how independent I can be and gained so much confidence through my time abroad. Being abroad opened my eyes to just how amazing the world truly is and gave me a new appreciation for each and everyday. I was able to see and learn so much from the people I met and the places I traveled to. I will forever cherish my time abroad! I cannot wait until one day when I can go back!
What advice do you have for new study abroad students?
I think the biggest piece of advice I could give to new study abroad students would be to go into this experience with an open mind. Studying abroad is truly a life changing experience, but it can be overwhelming at times, so try your best to go with the flow and enjoy each and every day because before you know it you will be boarding the plane to go home. Since this is your new home try and go out of your comfort zone and really try and embrace the culture of your host city. Another piece of advice I would give would be to meet as many new people as possible. I went aboard with some girls I had known prior, but I met some amazing new people that I know will be friends for a lifetime. Lastly, I would say to make the most out of your time abroad. This means something different to everyone. Maybe it is going for a walk and enjoying the nature, trying new and exciting foods, or just exploring the city itself.
What travel tips would you give someone studying abroad?
Plan, plan, and plan some more! I cannot say this enough, plan any and every trip you can as early as possible this makes things less stressful and so much cheaper. Second, double check to make sure all of your dates and times match up for transportation and when you can check into your housing. Another tip I would give would be to do research on what you want to do/see/where to eat before you leave so you do not waste any time when you are there so you can get the most out of your trip. I would also recommend talking with people that you know who have been abroad before because they can offer insight on what to do when in different cities. Lastly, I suggest keeping a journal or some type of memory book to remember all that you got to see and do. You will see new and amazing things literally everyday and I love being able to go back and read through my journal and look back on my experiences.
Madison was an SAI Florence spring 2018 student from the University of Kentucky.