UMD: A Globally Connected University

Alexander (Sasha) Sytov

Program: UMD Exchange: University of Glasgow
Term: Fall 2016

Studying abroad has opened me up to a literal world of different personalities and cultures.  During my time abroad, I interacted with so many vastly different people and made friends I doubt I'll soon forget. The flexibility of my schedule gave me ample time to travel all around Europe with my newfound friends. I fell into a great group of people on my flat, which made seeing the world that much better. This was my first time really being in Europe (despite the fact that I've traveled quite a bit throughout my life), but more importantly, it was my first time being abroad for an extended period of time without my parents. The independence that I acquired living on my own in a foreign country, making new friends, and planning trips is a skill I will use for the rest of my life. But, most of all, this once-in-a-lifetime experience has helped me focus on living in the moment and enjoying life, which I hope is something I'll take with me as I move forward.

My head is just swimming in stories from my time abroad and I just can't bring myself to pick one, so I'll tell you a little bit about what it was like living in Glasgow: non-stop fun and expanding of my comfort zone.  I made it a personal point to open myself up to new experiences while I was abroad. As a result, I have no regrets from my time abroad because I felt like I took advantage of as many opportunities as I reasonably could, which made for a rich experience. I lived in my 4th choice for housing, but it ended up being the best thing that happened to me while I was abroad. I lived with 11 other guys on my flat, and while the kitchen was consistently in shambles, the times we've had together more than make up for any lacking amenities.  We became family and Glasgow became our home. This, above anything else, is what defined my time abroad. That's why I firmly believe you can't go wrong in your choice of where to study abroad (except for if you choose not to!). What matters most is your willingness to accept the experience and enjoy the ride.

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: Almost everyone can (and I think should) make studying abroad a part of their college experience. The programs are typically pretty flexible and it's an experience you can only regret not doing. Do yourself a favor and study abroad!