It all started in 2021. Amidst the height of COVID and my second year at the University of Alabama, I decided to brave my first time abroad. I was accepted as a student for the UA Exchange Program at Yonsei University and was determined that I would study abroad–even during a pandemic. Long story short, I hopped on a plane for the first time in my life and spent the most formative five months of my life living in Sincheon in South Korea. Although I could go on and on about my experience in South Korea, this post is being published because I have been incredibly blessed to have a second opportunity to study abroad during my undergraduate degree. This time, I am finishing my undergraduate degree in Norway with Nathan Parker’s UA in Norway: Adventure in Literature program!
Photos from my time at Yonsei! Left photo: A group of my friends and I night fishing for squid Right photo: Me in traditional Hanbok^^
Studying abroad for a second time, let alone the first time, is an achievement I thought I would never reach. However, I can say with complete confidence that the Education Abroad office was a huge part in making this happen! I didn’t know just how much preparation went into studying abroad until I began working for the EA office the fall after I returned from Norway, but boy did I find out quickly. With the knowledge from a first study abroad and experience working in the office, I felt incredibly prepared while getting ready for Norway!
To the left is a picture that Nate (the director of UA in Norway) sent our GroupMe in preparation for our travel abroad!
(Now here comes the important part: what I learned and how I used it!)
- You CAN study abroad even as an in-state student who is reliant on scholarships
- You WILL be prepared by the Education Abroad Office if you just go visit them!
- please go to a Study Abroad 101 session, make an appointment with your EA advisor, and do your own research on the website (studyabroad.ua.edu)
- Scholarships and grants are much easier to obtain than you think if you are willing to put in the work
I know it might seem scary to dive into the world of education abroad–especially if you’re worried about finances, homesickness, culture shock, and more– but I promise that talking to the EA office and doing your own research will prepare you to be as prepared as possible.
I promise the jump is worth it!!
As I begin my trip to Norway, it is also the beginning of the end of my undergraduate experience. Take it from someone who is less than a month away from graduating with a bachelor’s degree: You don’t want to regret not going abroad.
Take the chance and find out just how much you can grow into a new version of yourself who is prepared for all types of the unknown.