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Draw away from the family and assume new responsibilities are the most recurrent difficulties of students who live for the first time an academic exchange. Practice detachment and living these emotions as an opportunity for personal growth, are some of the recommendations to make this experience unforgettable.
This and many other recommendations are shared in the “Vive el Mundo” workshop, a space organized by the Deanship of Students and the Office of International Relations, ORI, for students that are about to undertake an experience of internationalization with the objective of strengthening their adaptive capacity and listen to many fellow students who have already lived an academic exchange.
“Feeling alone is one of the moods that frequently affect students who for the first time are facing an academic exchange. This represents a radical change in people’s life, because they are in front of a new context, a new culture, and in many cases of a new language, and as all the changes, they produce fear and insecurity to the human being, more when they are away from the secure base of family or home”, explains Paula Posada, one of the members in the psychology team from the Deanship of Students, the leaders of these workshops which are carried out every six months.
Nevertheless, -she explains-, from the social skills and the adaptability of the student depends, largely, that the feeling of lonely dissipates. “At this point it is important that the student detaches from the affection of their family but without losing the contact, because for a healthy exchange process it is essential to maintain the roots, the essence and the purpose of the journey, in order for new contexts and relationships not to become a ‘bad influence’ and a distractor but, on the contrary, a booster of planned goals and a motivator of personal growth”, says Paula.
“It is also important to consider that these transition and adaptation processes are essential for the development of the human being. To be alone is not something bad, it can be an opportunity to meet and get to know ourselves”, adds Paula.
The psychology team of Sergio Arboleda University recommends to work on the strengthening of three aspects before beginning an academic exchange: social skills, adaptation levels and identity strengthening. “Without these elements, there is the possibility that the student does not take a one hundred percent advantage of this experience and may find some difficulties along the way”, says Paula.
The more the student is willing to interact and integrate with new social groups, knowing about the cultural differences that may exist, the more they will feel more accepted and adapted in the new social context and will begin to enjoy the company of new people around, displacing feelings of loneliness.
Money management is another important aspect that students should consider, not only quantitatively but also qualitatively, this is, how and in what they should invest their money.
“Speaking about economy, we generally suggest to the student is to contact their bank in Colombia to find about the rates of bank drafts and international withdrawals in different foreign banks, that in some occasions manage different rates, some more accessible than others. In this way, the student chooses the best option that suits their needs”, says Paula.
The “Vive el Mundo” workshops have a periodicity of six months and a duration of two hours. The students who are interested can approach the International Relations Office or the Deanship of Students.
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