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### Honest Experiences of Students Struggling Abroad

Dartmouth College’s study abroad initiatives are widely recognized for offering students exceptional opportunities to engage with diverse cultures while pursuing their academic interests. While many participants return with glowing reviews and a broader worldview, there are instances where students face unforeseen challenges during their international experiences.

Living in a foreign country presents exciting prospects, yet adjusting to lifestyle variations can pose obstacles. Claire O’Shaughnessy ’25, who partook in the Spanish language study abroad program in Buenos Aires, highlighted the significant shift in her daily routine, particularly the extensive use of public transportation, a practice less common in Hanover.

Aliya Dhanji ’25, who engaged in the environmental studies program in South Africa and Namibia, emphasized the intense group dynamics during outdoor camping trips, limiting personal space and time for solitude.

Moreover, dietary constraints emerged as a recurring issue for some participants. Dhanji recounted challenges faced due to limited food options accommodating her dietary restrictions, including instances where pork-containing meals were the only available choice.

Tej Patel ’25, who explored Edinburgh, Scotland through the religion FSP, found the culinary transition relatively smooth due to the diverse food selection accessible in the vicinity, offering a range of options beyond the local cuisine.

Academic demands also significantly influence the study abroad experience. Dhanji shared her struggles with academic intensity and the lack of downtime, even on scheduled off-days, which were filled with assignments and academic obligations.

Effective communication with professors proved to be another hurdle for some students. Patel expressed frustrations over the diminishing guidance and support from his Dartmouth professor towards the program’s conclusion, leading to ambiguity in assignment expectations.

Despite the challenges, maintaining certain routines, such as regular exercise and dietary preferences, helped O’Shaughnessy navigate the transition smoothly. Conversely, Dhanji found value in embracing challenges as a means of personal growth and fulfillment, recommending grounding practices like journaling or seeking solitude to combat burnout and enhance the overall experience.