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Study Abroad and Enjoy Campus Sports Life




You have been studying for finals, searching for scholarships, and waiting for the application process to come to an end. Basically, all you want to do right now is kick back and relax. And, while you are dreaming away during your newfound free time, have you by any chance been fantasizing about being a rugged American Football player, or perhaps becoming the next Stephen Curry?

Sports life in an American University is a really big deal. Moreover, if you were not raised in the US, you most likely have developed a few preconceived notions about American sports. We have all seen them, the cute cheerleaders in the TV series, the annoyed coaches during the Super Bowl, or the cool Basketball player in the movies.

As you already know, sports is extremely important in an American student’s college experience and in American culture in general. Many students join a sports team during their time in undergraduate or graduate school. It is known that North American Universities have a wide range of sports teams on their campuses, more than you would ever be able to find in any European University.


Here are some ways in which you can find out if you are cut out for an American University campus and its sports life:

You are an adventurous person who sees sports as a way to get new friends and to connect to the local culture, fellow students, and campus life. Well, then you’re going to love America! Have you ever heard of Lacrosse? Beer pong? Okay, maybe not beer pong, but it does take skills.  Many Universities offer a wide range of sports for beginners. As soon as your application package is accepted, you can start contacting the head of the Student Sports Organizations or even the teams you are interested in.  This way, you will get a global vision of each sport on that particular campus and find out where you could learn a new sport.

You are all about team spirit and are longing to be a part of a sports team. Select some of the teams you would like to join and contact them before your arrival. When you finally get there, make sure to ask the other foreign students what their impressions of the campus activities are. Playing sports while being a University student is a real commitment. you have to be prepared to juggle both studies and training. But, if you are serious about it and motivated, you can definitely achieve your goals. Without this experience, your study abroad program just will not be the same.

You are already an Athlete and you are preparing your application to study abroad programs, your first contact in America should be the National Collegiate Athletic Association. This organization is ruling the follow up of athletes for all Colleges and Universities. Try to get familiar with them and get the maximum information you can, especially if you are considering getting a scholarship as an athlete to apply for a study abroad program. In North America, more than in many other countries, being an athlete and studying for a Graduate or Post Graduate Program can be a reality, but requires many efforts.

You are not such a sporty person….but you are interested in big sports events: Do not miss all the planning of the sports events and get familiar with the sports seasons in the United-States. This can be a rich experience for you on Campus during your time studying abroad.

If you want advice on student life in America and need a mentor to guide you through the process, please visit https://www.gradtrain.com


The study abroad spectrum of your comfort zone


The thought of relocating to another country to study abroad may seem like an opportunity for new adventures for some, but for others it’s quite a scary thought. Whether you are moving abroad to study in America, Canada, London, Germany, China, Mexico or any other destination, dealing with at least a bit of culture shock and adjustment challenges is inevitable. To advance your career and get global perspective, studying abroad may not be something you can miss-out on, but if you are scared of the changes, here are some things to consider if you want to stay on safe side and feel more at home:

1. Study program: semester abroad vs. a degree

If you're having a hard time accepting the thought of committing to 3 years in a foreign country, doing a bachelors’ degree, masters’ degree or a doctorate, you might want to consider doing a semester abroad instead of a full degree. Most higher education institutes have international programs for longer and shorter periods of time which students can apply for. Using this facility in the university you study in, whether it's in your home country or not, can keep you sheltered in many ways. There's not half as much bureaucracy as when applying for a degree abroad. You do need to get accepted for the program, but since you're already studying at the university, you're half way there. Plus, in many programs there are no additional tuition fees to the ones you are already paying. By studying for a certain time period abroad, you are gaining cultural experience and gaining the benefits of the experience without dealing with many of the hardships of doing a degree abroad. Just make sure you only stay for the honeymoon phase. 

2. Destination: close vs. far

Distance does matter. As you fly further away from home, the weather changes, the food becomes foreign, the languages are less similar and the cultures differ. Choose whether you'd like to stay in your comfort zone, or expose yourself to complete new worlds. For example, living in a country where you don't speak the language that's being spoken can cause more of a culture shock than living in a country where the language is familiar to you. Don't forget that the further you move, the more expensive your flight back home will be.  If you want to stay closer to home and to go back and visit every now and then when one of your friends gets married or for a family birthday, this is something to consider. 

3. Living arrangement: dorms vs. renting an apartment

Living in a dorm on campus doesn't sounds as fun as renting out an apartment in the city center of Berlin, London, Barcelona or Mexico City, but it does save a lot of energy, time and money. If you think the search for an apartment is tedious, try searching for one abroad. In a country you haven't lived in before, you may not speak the language of, don’t know common portals to search on and are unaware of the standards and even familiar with the neighborhoods. Renting a room at university is the easy option. In many universities, the dorms are available on demand, the price is affordable and there’s no need to commute around the city catching trams, trains and buses to get to campus. Living in a dorm is one way to stay sheltered during your study abroad experience and even meet other students who chose that option too.  

4. Relocation: with a friend vs. alone

Moving abroad is a process which requires a lot of courage. Sometimes all you need to gain that courage is to do it with a friend. Relocating with a friend allows you to share the experience with someone and consult about different challenges which may appear. When studying abroad, you will meet a lot of people, and sometimes having a familiar friend who you know from home, can give a lot of confidence. 

There you have it. Four things to consider to keep your study abroad experience in your comfort zone. For more information, go to: www.gradtrain.com 




Expectations vs. reality of studying abroad


Like most students longing to study abroad, you are probably also filled with high hopes, goals and expectations. Many times we find that the reality doesn't always match our expectations, but like most dreams, you need to let you imagination run free to conquer what you set out to achieve. Not to burst your bubble, but here are a few expectations international students have when setting out to study abroad and the reality of what usually ends up happening:  

1st Expectation: You’ll be a native speaker by the end of your stay.
Reality: People don’t really have the patience to wait till you finish a sentence.  

You enrolled at the best language school you could find to study German, Spanish, Swedish, Danish or French. You can already read and write and even order food in the language you are studying. You can’t wait to land in your destination and start practicing your accent on people you meet only to find out that most people you encounter speak English and prefer it too. Even when you start to small talk in a foreign language, most young people you’ll meet will switch to English since they don’t really have the patience to wait for you to finish a sentence, and they appreciate the opportunity to practice English, themselves.
Tip: Keen to practice anyways? Find a tandem interested in learning a language you are fluent in or join a language group.   

2nd Expectation: You’ll visit museums, historical sites, art galleries every day.  
Reality: You'll study all day.  

Living abroad in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Spain, Switzerland or Denmark, won't change the fact that you'll still be a student without much free time on their hands. On the contrary, it might even make your studies harder by forcing you to also deal with language barriers, culture shock, along with other challenges. Between semesters and even on the weekends you might be available to squeeze in a short trip to travel in Europe, South America, the States, or Asia (depending on where you are), but during the semester, keep in mind that you’ll need to work hard.
Tip: Try to get most of your assignments done on the weekdays so that your weekends are free to tour around the city.

3rd Expectation: You’ll acquire local friends super-fast.
Reality: You’ll need to make an effort for that

Making local friends abroad is not as easy as you might think. If you think about yourself in your home country, how many foreign friends do you have? Abroad, you’ll find it easier to become friends with other international students facing the same reality as you are. Getting into a circle of local friends will involve some effort.
Tip: Get a hobby or join a club where you’ll be able to interact with local who share the same interests as you.

4th Expectation: You’ll return home with new eyes.
Reality: You probably will. Studying abroad will expose you to new experiences which will change you forever. What you do afterwards is up to you.  


To learn more about studying abroad go to: