14 Expectations You Have of Doing a Year Abroad Vs. The Reality
Let’s take off the rose coloured spectacles and address some of those expectations that don’t quite meet up to reality when it comes to your year abroad.
1. You think that you’re probably already fluent enough to get by when you first arrive.
Sure, you know there’ll be some thing you don’t understand, but mostly you’ll be OK.
Reality: You immediately forget everything you’ve ever learnt and understand basically nothing.
2. You expect it will be easy enough for you to fit in after having studied the relevant culture for two years, if not more.
Reality: You are paranoid people can tell you are foreign before you’ve even uttered a word.
3. You think all those forms you fill in before leaving will be the end of it.
Reality: It turns out they barely scratched the surface of the bureaucracy coming your way.
4. You plan on being perfectly OK with making mistakes for while.
It’s to be expected. It proves you’re trying. It’s fine.
Reality: You’re still stressing about that slight mispronunciation you made for weeks afterwards.
5. You imagine falling head over heels in love with every single aspect of this new culture you’re experiencing.
Reality: Initial excitement at the novelty of everything quickly turns into a severe case of culture shock.
6. You don’t think you’ll miss British culture at all.
It’s not like you care for it all that much when you’re at home.
Reality: You could almost weep with joy when you find Cadbury’s chocolate and Heinz Baked Beans in a supermarket.
7. You envision your speaking skills improving pretty much straight away.
Reality: You’re still panicking several weeks in whenever you have a conversation you haven’t mentally prepared for in advance.
8. You expect that you won’t need to Google Translate anything ever again.
Reality: You’re actually using it more than ever, often for words that you should definitely know the meaning of by now.
9. You imagine making loads of foreign friends and hardly ever speaking English.
Reality: You mostly stick with your fellow international students and only speak in your target language when you have to.
10. You think your foreign lecturers will go easy on you, knowing you’re not a native speaker
Reality: They don’t. At all. In fact, if anything, they seem to speak even faster when they talk to you.
11. You look forward to playing tour guide for your family and friends when they come to visit.
Reality: If they ever get there, the pressure of being an expert in everything is almost too much for you to deal with at times.
12. You expect that you’ll be more than ready to return home when the time comes.
Reality: You suddenly gain a new appreciation for everything about your year abroad location.
13. You think that at least returning home to your own culture will be easy.
It’s all second nature to you.