Sierra Gustafson is a third-year UFV student in the Bachelor of Arts program, pursuing a joint major in Criminology and Psychology and a minor in French. She always knew she wanted to travel one day, and eventually, the University of Regensburg in Germany called her name. Sierra says she chose Germany because she “wanted a truly out of [her] comfort zone experience and to be immersed in a new culture, environment, language, people, etc.” Choosing a country such as France, which she also considered, would not have fulfilled her personal goals as she already spoke the French language. Upon hearing incredible things about Germany from others who had visited, “I was sold!”, she says.
One of the most challenging things Sierra experienced in the process of going abroad was the application process for her host university. She shares challenges with filling out the lengthy applications correctly and eventually also having to choose her courses which were explained in German on the platforms she could find. Ultimately, these were well worth the time it took to organize, and she was very pleased with the patience and helpfulness of her host university. “The U of R was incredibly helpful though and always responded to my questions quickly, clearly, and without any sign of irritation at my constant need for clarification”, Sierra says.
Now that Sierra has completed her application process and taken the big step ‘across the pond’, she has important advise to offer to other students who are considering going abroad, either to the University of Regensburg or elsewhere: “I would strongly encourage students going abroad to go out of [their] comfort zone… Try something totally new, or go somewhere you maybe hadn’t considered and put in an honest effort to learn about your new city and the new language.” She also recommends that students going abroad research the weather patterns in their new area so that they pack accordingly, and are not left without the essentials! Finally, “SAVE MORE MONEY FOR YOUR TRIP THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED, she stresses. There are always fees that pop up, or a trip you can’t miss, and having that extra money is important for having a smooth trip.
~~If you or someone you know wishes to go abroad, come on in and talk to us at the International Center at UFV! You’ll be glad you did. Thank you, Sierra, for sharing your experiences!~~