Who should go?

One of the most commonly asked questions about studying abroad is what type of person should go. Before deciding to live overseas you should examine what types of qualities in people are desirable for such an experience. Studying abroad is not for everyone, and you should think seriously about your decision before applying to a overseas study placement. These are some of the desirable qualities that exchange students should have in order to make their experience the most rewarding:


While living and studying in a foreign country, you will have to be very independent and self-reliant. Once you leave home you will be leaving your friends, family, culture and sometimes language. Most exchange students arrive at their host university not knowing anyone in a completely unfamiliar environment. When students study abroad, they quickly have to take charge of their own affairs and learn how to live independently in a foreign country. Self-reliance is important if you have to learn bus routes, register for courses, and pay bills in a unfamiliar country, perhaps even in an unfamiliar language. Being able to do things for yourself is a quality that all exchange students need.


Keeping an open mind is something that can't be understated in the study-abroad experience. When you live in a foreign country for an extended period of time you will be exposed to cultural norms and values that will often be contrary to your own. When you are exposed to foreign customs and different way of thinking it is often tempting to negatively react to the culture that you have been exposed to. One of the greatest traps people living abroad fall into is spending the entire duration of their trip being critical of where they are. In order to have a positive experience in another country you will have to keep and open mind to new and different ways of thinking. Instead of labelling foreign cultural norms as "wrong" you should simply think of them as "different".

Looking on the bright side

Having a good attitude towards what do while abroad will definitely affect the quality of your trip. You will have to accept the fact that you will have some bad luck and everything will not always go as planned while travelling. Luggage gets lost, trains aren't always on time and the weather won't always be nice. The most important thing that you can do is cope with change and problems in a positive way. Your attitude and outlook on life will pretty much determine whether or not you have fun on you trip (and having fun is sort of the point, right?). Being an optimist rather than a pessimist is generally a good rule for anything you do in life but it is particularly important if you plan on living abroad.

Sense of Adventure

If you want to get the most of out of your experience overseas than you're going to have to have a sense of adventure. The best way to experience a new culture is to do new things that you probably wouldn't do at home. You should be at least a little bit adventurous when it comes to trying new food, listening to different music and speaking the local language. The more of a new culture you try to experience, the more you will feel part of it. Unlike an average tourist, if you choose to live abroad you will have more opportunity try out new things and be more a part of the local scene. If you're a bit adventurous than you'll have a more exciting and interesting time.


Going to university in a foreign country can result in a fairly serious lifestyle change for students. You should be able to adapt to change in general and not be too rigid and set in your ways. Most students who have done exchange programs before say the best advice is to just "go with the flow"