Hi there once again,
I’m sorry for being a bit quiet on this front- my dissertation has started occupying every conscious thought that I have! Before this dissertation take-over happened though, I had a few weeks to really reflect on what I had actually gained from my time in the USA with the lovely lot that I was privileged to share this experience with! What occurred to me is that there is actually so much more personal growth and learning that is happening beneath the surface than I realised, all of which was triggered by this International Study Centre experience.
This growth and learning extends beyond all the tangible benefits (some of which I highlighted in my first post a long, long time ago) of taking advantage of an international study opportunity – these are the ‘gains’ that cannot always be fully conveyed to you through PowerPoints detailing the practical benefits. These are personal and unique so your ‘gains’ might be different to mine, but still beneficial in every way. That said, I’m going to pepper you with some of the learning and personal growth experiences that I have undergone as a result of embracing an international study opportunity.
In terms of personal growth, I feel so much more confident in my ability to tackle anything that comes my way. This translates into the important life (and employability) skill of being able to adapt and face situations head-on. This confidence to tackle everything sprung out of the fact that travelling to a new place, which I was unfamiliar with, was both scary and exciting. Every time I was able to successfully overcome any obstacle or approach things in a different way to how I typically would here at home in the UK, I felt my confidence surge a little bit and I thought ‘I’m actually handling this ‘being-away-from-home’ thing pretty well’. This showed me that I could tackle anything that I set my mind to and is something that I hope to continue to develop throughout life. It has changed me from a personal growth perspective, as now, every time I come across something challenging in my life, I no longer think it is insurmountable – all because of what I was able to overcome during the ISC. I didn’t realise this personal growth and skill development had occurred until I actually took a step back and looked at how I had been approaching my dissertation- no longer with fear, but with positivity and a ‘can do’ attitude. This is one aspect that makes me so glad that I took advantage of York’s amazing global study opportunities.
In terms of learning, I now have an appreciation for different approaches to learning and the value in this (the American learning system is quite different to ours- not in practice, but in substance) and this has generally opened up my perspective to people from backgrounds that are different to mine. I have developed a deeper and more visible appreciation for unique or distinct approaches to problems and situations because of being able to experience a different education system. This appreciation could impact a big life decision (should I move to New York? Yes? No? Any opinions?) that I might make one day, but at least I will make the decision with a full appreciation for and knowledge of the changes that it will bring, instead of being unaware (lets just say, sometimes ignorance isn’t bliss!)
Finally, it has made me appreciate what I have here at home (Afternoon Tea, scones on demand- the list could honestly go on…) which makes me enjoy and value it so much more. This gives me a greater sense of satisfaction and perspective whenever I just get to enjoy the things that make home what it is.
So yeah, I do feel like there is so much more to gain from embracing international opportunities whilst studying at York besides the obvious! So as my final piece of wisdom to returning or new York students: take advantage of the global opportunities that York has to offer. It is one of the few universities that has so many! Otherwise, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing my experiences of my time on the ISC in the USA with you and I only hope that your international experience(s) (if you have one or more) are as fabulous as mine was!
Over and Out.