Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of seeing the world. I am curious by nature and love to explore! When I learned in high school that as a university student, I might have the option to go on exchange, I immediately added the experience to my bucket list. I took Spanish classes throughout high school and university and made Spanish-speaking friends. My enthusiasm for the language fueled my desire to spend time in a country where I could immerse myself and improve.
So, I arrived at UBC knowing that an exchange program was something I had to do. After submitting my application and much anticipation, I was accepted to my first choice – la Universidad de Granada. A week ago I took my last exam to finish off my semester in Spain, and I can’t believe it’s already over! Now that I have finished my exchange, I want to be a resource to students who are thinking about doing the program themselves.
There are loads of questions students ask themselves when considering going on exchange: Will this delay my graduation? By how much? How much will it cost? Do I have to speak another language? What if I don’t make any friends and am left alone? Is it “worth it”?
My answer is: DO IT. If you have the opportunity to spend a semester or two in another part of the world, absolutely take advantage!!! And you do have this opportunity, guaranteed, as a UBC student. Through Go Global, you can choose from a variety of exchange, research and study abroad options. UBC has partner universities all over the world, and you can even establish connections with universities that are not “partners” yet — so all the doors are open!
Spending the past semester on exchange has been one of the best decisions I have ever made (tied only with my decision to switch majors at the beginning of my third year). In Spain, I have improved my Spanish immensely, adopted customs, learned more about others, learned more about myself, made lifelong friends, fallen in love, traveled, explored new interests and much much more. I have had some of the best adventures of my life…..and oh, yes, I have done some studying as well. (;
There have been challenges. I had problems getting my visa, my student loans didn’t apply and I had to find an alternative way to pay for my studies on exchange. I found solutions by doing a bunch of research, submitting last-minute documents, being supported by my family and working throughout my exchange. Anything is possible! If you have fears or doubts, forget them! Step outside of your comfort zone and go somewhere new — I guarantee you will be glad you did.
It was always my dream to travel and spend time in another country. Maybe you’re in the same boat, or this is a new interest for you. Either way, I highly encourage you to check it out!
If you have questions about Go Global programs, the website I have linked to includes the contact info of their advisors. If you want to ask about my experience specifically, feel free to tweet me at @nirel_me or email me at nirel4peace[at]gmail[dot]com (replace [at] and [dot] with [@] and [.]). You can also find more blog posts by other UBC bloggers and myself at the Go Global Bloggers homepage.
Much love x