Looking for a meaningful souvenir from your time abroad? Try keeping a journal or travel blog. Jot down all of your cultural mishaps and language disasters. The Office of Study Abroad would love to link to your blog in order to share your experiences with other MSU students. Want to see an example?
It is vital that you remember that you will be a visitor while studying abroad. It is YOU that will have to adapt to the new culture—not it to you. Don’t assume that American culture is better; it is only different. Open your mind to new things and to new ways of doing old things. Before you leave, plan to do plenty of research before you leave on your host country’s customs, beliefs, politics, religions, holidays, and laws. Talk to MSU students who have visited the same country or to students from that country who are now studying at MSU. Remember: just because something is acceptable behavior in Mississippi does not mean it is acceptable where you will be living.
Not only could your behavior be loud and offensive to some, it could even be illegal. According to an article in the LA Times, 3,125 Americans were arrested abroad from October 2007 through September 2008. Drunk and disorderly behavior and drug-related crimes were often the reason for the arrest. Always remember that you are a guest in another country. The more you learn now, the easier your transition will be later. Review the following resources before you leave:
PLEASE REVIEW THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE’S “STUDENTS ABROAD” WEBSITE FOR FURTHER TIPS ON TRAVEL, HEALTH, EMBASSIES, NEWS AND ALERTS FOR STUDENTS STUDYING ABROAD.
Please review the Department of State’s “Students Abroad” website for further tips on travel, health, embassies, news, and alerts for students studying abroad.
Your actions and opinions (intentionally or not) will contribute to your host country’s opinion of the USA, Mississippi, Starkville, and Mississippi State University. Locals will ask you many questions while you are abroad, and it is wise to think about these topics before you are asked by the gentlemen selling you a baguette in Paris. Possible topics might include US foreign policy, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bush, Obama, slavery in Mississippi, Katrina, US banking industry’s role in the economic collapse, and other controversial issues.
Points to keep in mind: