The exchange student experience

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Story by Sally Al-Abdly, for The Muleskinner—
Sally-colorAll students on campus are excited and happy about starting their summer break.
This means preparing for finals, finishing another semester and having a break afterwards for almost all students.
But, for an exchange student, counting down for finals means a mixture of contrasted feelings.
It means getting a flash back of a year full of memories. It means doing things and knowing that it might be the last time to do them. It means that an adventure comes to an end.
As an exchange student who is counting down to the end of her most adventurous year in just a few days, I decided to write this article to summarize and share my experience of being an exchange student in the U.S. for the past academic year.
I am Sally Al-Abdly, a department of state NESA exchange scholar.
I am from Yemen, a country located in the Middle East at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula.
I came to the U.S. to be a cultural ambassador and represent my country to Americans and the other international students at UCM.
I’ve felt joy representing my country and making people who knew nothing or very little about Yemen say they are thinking about visiting it one day.
In addition to that, this year has been like an intensive life course for me.
I’ve spent the last year living a different culture and lifestyle, in a place where I know nobody and I’m away from my family, whom I used to depend on for every single thing.
This has made me an independent person who can handle and face life’s daily problems by myself.
Furthermore, being more independent boosted my self-confidence.
I now believe in myself and my abilities much more than before.
Before, I used to panic whenever I faced problems, but now I do not because I have handled all the obstacles that I faced this year by myself.
I have also improved my multitasking and time management skills due to a different educational system here that I am not used to.
And finally, I made friends from all over the world.
Getting to know all these different cultures and traditions, in addition to travelling around the states, gave me lots of memorable moments that I will never forget.
I want to encourage all students to take advantage of the study abroad program on campus and apply.
It will definitely be the experience of your life.