June 1, 2019

Do’s and Don’ts of Research Abroad

Posted by srauch

Researching or studying abroad can be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Here are some important tips to think about when navigating a new experience abroad:

  • Be grateful for your experience. This is a limited opportunity and if you are selected over the many others who would have been overjoyed to have your spot. Don’t waste your time with negativity or complaints about this new experience.
  • Be mindful of your peers. Not everyone is well-traveled and therefore everyone can experience traveling abroad in different ways. Give your peers the space they need to grow and adapt to their new environment.
  • Respect the culture and the people in the community of the place you are living in/visiting. Remember that you are a guest in another country regardless of how comfortable you are there. Use this opportunity to learn from the locals. Don’t forget to express appreciation to all the people you meet.
  • You’re on the job 24/7. In a foreign environment you’re representing yourself, affiliated organizations, your university, and even your country. Be mindful of this in the decisions you make abroad.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things. These are experiences you may not get again. Immerse yourself in the culture as much as you can.
  • If given the chance, take personal time to reflect on the experience while it’s still happening. Things tend to move at 100 mph and your time abroad will be over before you know it, therefore try and use free opportunities to pump the brakes and appreciate the experience.
  • Own up to your mistakes! This is a safe environment and it’s understood you’re not perfect at this stage. Making mistakes goes along with gaining experience, just be honest about them.

Researching or studying abroad can be an unforgettable experience that can immerse you in a new culture, diversify your skillset to help you enhance your resume/CV, and help you form unique life-long bonds. Keeping these tips in mind can help you make the most out of your time abroad.

Julia Emilie Jeanty and Chinonso Uzowihe, Talent Pool Interns, American Geophysical Union.