UMD: A Globally Connected University

Helen Lan

Helen Lan

Program: ENGR Exchange: Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Term: Fall 2015
Major: Material Science & Engineering

Studying abroad changed me, as cliche as it sounds. I think I really grew up and matured. I learned to navigate a new country by myself and made a whole new set of friends from all over the world. I learned to be independent and rely on only myself. I cooked and cleaned for myself. It was hard at the beginning, but it was a really worthwhile experience and I wish it didn't have to end.

My time in Norway was such a memorable experience and one that I will definitely never forget. I loved living in a new country and meeting new people from Norway and all over the world. I gained a new perspective on life and a new appreciation for hiking. I did some things I never imagined I would do: touched a glacier, pet a reindeer, and drove a dogsled. I also had a great time learning a new culture and language. Norway will always be a part of me.

For a person of color, there were hardly any issues. Sometimes people told me I didn't look American, which was in a way disappointing to hear, but I think it came from their lack of knowledge of the US, rather than malicious intent. I think they were just curious about my ethnicity and since English isn't their first language, it was hard for them to ask in a polite way.