While keeping an open mind and learning from those around you is essential on Study Abroad, often you might forget that your perspective adds value. There is a tendency while assimilating abroad to over-idealize your host culture. Things seem cooler than back home and so much better. Whether it’s the food, the architecture, the people, the language, or even the political views, you may find yourself putting your host culture up on a pedestal.
This isn’t a bad thing and in some ways it’s necessary for self-growth. One of the beautiful things of being a foreigner, however, is having a unique perspective. Maybe you have a different way of looking at things than your new friends or host family and don’t be afraid to share that. Use it as an opportunity to not only challenge your own beliefs, but share them. Being vulnerable and sharing yourself in this way can transform your interactions and experience.
On Study Abroad you’re often like a pendulum swinging back and forth between your host culture and your home culture. Eventually, you’ll probably land somewhere in the middle gleaning things from both cultures and recognizing the positive and negative in each. In the meantime, don’t forget that your unique perspective between two cultures adds value too.