UMD: A Globally Connected University

Rose Raufman

Rose Raufman

Program: Maryland-in-Nice
Term: Spring 2019
Major: Public Policy

I was incredibly lucky in my program to be taking classes with people from all over the world who were learning French for different reasons. I learned how to communicate with people when words failed me, and I learned a great deal about patience with myself and with others. 

Looking back, I remember my first day in my host parents house; trying to keep up with their conversations during meals, having to constantly ask them to repeat themselves. I was frustrated that I was so lost. Fast forward three months, I found myself sitting at that same table engaging in political debates with my host family, able to keep up with the conversation and so happy with my ability to form an argument. Learning a language takes time and effort, but studying abroad allowed me those four months to focus and dedicate my time to it. 

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: Make sure to be aware of your surroundings. When you don't know where you are and don't speak the language, it's easy to find yourself lost and confused, so do your research ahead of time and try to travel with others when possible. It's also an amazing way to make new friends! ​

The hardest part of studying abroad was the loneliness that I experienced in the beginning. Getting used to a new country, a new family (if you stay with a family), a new language, new laws, and a new culture is incredibly alienating. I learned to combat that by forcing myself to explore my surroundings, talk to locals, go to events, and lean on the other students going through the same thing. Studying abroad was the most rewarding thing I have done thus far. I learned so much about myself and gained so much confidence from learning that I'm more resilient and resourceful than I thought. 

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: I was worried about making my study abroad fit into my four year plan, but I worked with my academic advisors for a year to make sure I would be able to study French [abroad during spring of my Junior year]. I thought that traveling would be easier and cheaper than it was [once I arrived in Europe]. Spontaneity is fun but make sure to work through your budget and try to plan big trips in advance. It will save you a lot of headaches. 

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