A key step in preparing to study abroad is to consider how your background, identity, physical traits, and beliefs might be received in another cultural context. Every country, including the United States, may have people that are biased or judgmental. Ensure a smooth transition and adjustment to life in your host country by learning about your host culture(s) in advance, what to expect, and consider how to navigate unfamiliar and potentially uncomfortable interactions.
The University Office of Global Programs is committed to offering education abroad experiences to all Penn State undergraduate students. By going abroad, you may find yourself in situations that are unfamiliar, challenging, and thought-provoking. Moreover, you may encounter varying attitudes and perceptions of diversity issues. Understanding how these perceptions can influence your education abroad experience can go a long way toward a better understanding of yourself and the new culture in which you will live.
When you first get off the plane it can be surprising just to hear a different language being spoken everywhere. After the original excitement of being abroad has worn off a bit, you may begin to get frustrated with differences, like language, technology, the food, and so on. You will adjust as you become more accustomed to your new surroundings. Also be aware that you are not the only one feeling like this, there will be other people on your program that you can speak to who are experiencing some of the same emotions.