Growing while Studying Abroad - Besides English!

Jenny during the homecoming dance at Phoenix Christian Preparatory School
by Jenny from Vietnam

You will grow as a person while studying in the United States. Other than learning English, here are some of my three observations during my first and a half year experience in the United States.

  1. I improved my critical thinking.

    The education in most Asian countries I believe (if I am not accurate, please don’t get offended by this point) has a passive way of learning. That is listening to what teachers have to say, memorizing the content, and writing the content on the test. However, in the U.S, most schools encourage students to raise their hands and have questions in every subject, not only science. Take myself as an example, the method I used to study History in Vietnam was far different than in the U.S. I used to memorize word on words from the study guide. However, since one chapter covers way too much (usually 11 to 15 pages), it is impossible to learn every word by heart. Instead, I annotate and think through the lessons. I critically think-out problems so I can actually understand them.

  2. I became more independent:

    For those who already are perfect students without flaws, you guys can skip this part :) However, I am not. I am imperfect in multiple ways. Especially when I was just 14 when I went to America. I was extremely dependent on my parents. Living in a different country, interacting with different people and experiences will change you, for the better. Eventually, you will realize that you need to take responsible for your errors and solve them rather than asking for others’ help as well as depend on others. This will also prepare you to the path of going into college and eventually getting a job.

  3. I overcame culture shock and opened my heart:

    Being to a different nation with their language usually makes you close yourself more due to the sudden culture shock you suffer. Of course, language is the most difficult challenge to overcome. In addition to that, culture is also one of the difficulties. Therefore, anyone can get over those will be able to open your mind more and be more positive. This is also taken from my own experience, which I suppose that most international students would go through. In my first year, I was extremely pessimistic about life in general which includes missing parents, friends, and school work. However, things got easier when I opened my mind more and communicated. I also made more friends in America.

I hope this blog will actually help anyone who are still wondering about studying abroad. Studying abroad will definitely raise  you to be a better person :)

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