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### Study Abroad: Emma’s Expert Advice

This article is authored by a student writer from the Her Campus at NCSU chapter.

Having recently completed a semester abroad at Seoul National University in South Korea, I have compiled a set of recommendations that I believe would be beneficial for anyone considering or currently pursuing studies abroad.

Before delving into the list, I want to emphasize that these tips are derived from my personal encounters during my time abroad. Recognizing that each individual’s experience may vary, I encourage those seeking more insights or guidance tailored to their circumstances to explore the NCSU Study Abroad website at This platform features a plethora of firsthand narratives from individuals of diverse backgrounds who have ventured across the globe. In case you do not find the answers you seek, direct communication with the office is always an option. Now, let’s proceed to the list!

  1. When contemplating the decision to study abroad and selecting your destination, it is crucial to acknowledge that not every country may align with your expectations. Regrettably, some nations may not exhibit a welcoming attitude towards Americans or foreigners in general, presenting inherent challenges. Therefore, it is advisable to investigate the prevailing sentiment towards Americans in your prospective host country. While this assessment may offer a generalized perspective and you may not necessarily encounter issues, exercising caution is prudent. Additionally, if your chosen destination is a non-English speaking country, possessing a basic proficiency in the local language can significantly enhance your interactions with locals. Familiarizing yourself with the cultural norms, traditions, and legal regulations of the host country is also essential to avoid inadvertent misunderstandings.

  2. As you prepare for your study abroad journey, I strongly recommend refraining from packing your luggage to the maximum weight limit unless you have no intention of acquiring additional items. Considering the likelihood of expanding your wardrobe, altering your hair care routine, updating your makeup collection, or expanding your shoe assortment, it is advisable to leave ample room in your luggage. Even if purchasing extra luggage is an option, avoiding the exorbitant fees associated with excess baggage or shipping items back home warrants prudent packing decisions.

  3. One of the most pivotal suggestions I can offer is to actively participate in any buddy program offered by your host institution. Numerous acquaintances who opted out of such programs expressed regret over their decision. Irrespective of your social disposition or self-reliance, enrolling in a buddy program can yield invaluable benefits. At Seoul National University, the SNU Buddy program paired international students with local English-speaking counterparts who provided guidance, facilitated city tours, organized social gatherings, and more. Through this program, I forged connections with individuals from various continents, fostering friendships that endure beyond my time abroad.

  4. Reflecting on my initial apprehensions prior to departing for Korea and during the initial weeks of my stay, I acknowledge the missed opportunities stemming from undue caution. Therefore, my advice is simple: seize every opportunity while abroad. Whether the experience piques your interest or merely evokes curiosity, embracing new adventures is paramount. Embrace the unfamiliar, savor diverse cuisines, explore uncharted territories, and create enduring memories. Every encounter, regardless of the outcome, contributes to your unique narrative, enriching your journey abroad.

  5. While it may seem obvious, prioritizing personal safety cannot be overstated. While certain countries may appear safer than others at first glance, every location harbors its own set of risks. For instance, in Korea, issues related to sexual crimes and scams demand vigilance. Instances of illicit photography in public spaces or deceptive practices, such as religious cult recruitment or fraudulent property listings, underscore the importance of thorough research and situational awareness. Exercise caution when engaging with unfamiliar individuals, scrutinize housing arrangements meticulously, and remain vigilant in crowded settings. By familiarizing yourself with common scams and preemptive measures, you can safeguard your well-being effectively.

  6. In closing, I trust that these insights will prove valuable to prospective study abroad participants or individuals finalizing their summer program applications. As a parting piece of advice, I implore you to embrace the opportunity to study abroad wholeheartedly. Financial concerns need not deter you, as numerous programs offer comparable or even more affordable options than a standard semester at NC State. Additionally, a myriad of scholarships further alleviate the financial burden. If uncertainties persist, seek guidance from the study abroad office or consult your academic advisor for comprehensive information. Studying abroad is a transformative experience that offers unparalleled personal growth and cultural enrichment. From a student’s vantage point, I can attest that embarking on this journey was unequivocally the best decision I ever made.