UMD: A Globally Connected University

Irene Solaiman

Program: CIEE International Business and Culture Program in Seville, Spain
Term: Fall 2015
Major: Individual Studies

Program: UMD Exchange: The National University of Singapore
Term: Spring 2016

Studying in Spain while living with a host family immersed me in a new culture and language. I went with no Spanish knowledge (but am fluent in French) and am now fluent in Spanish! Studying in Singapore introduced me to the modern Asian developed world and I was dazzled by the academic rigor as well as the culinary world.
Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: Be conscious of your identity. As a woman, I did feel uncomfortable in certain situations (walking alone, going to restaurants). Be conscious of your surrounding. The buddy system is a great rule!
The first few days, or even weeks, can be daunting, but you become more comfortable and accustomed to a new environment the more you let yourself. You get what you give. You can stay indoors and only associate with Americans, or you can meet people from different backgrounds and make the most of the new living experience. Change is difficult, but studying abroad already takes you out of your comfort zone. Push yourself to make your own experience.
Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: Be adventurous. Be safe, but push yourself outside your comfort zone. Practice that new language. Meet new people. Make it a memorable, once in a lifetime experience.