My Home Away from Home: A Study Abroad Experience

Hey, everyone!

My name is Ki Ana Tseu, and I am a junior majoring in Kinesiology and minoring in Psychology at UNLV.

You're going to have people tell you, "your college experience is what you make it." For me, this is true. You can go to school, work, and rock your normal routine, OR you can go out and adventure. Studying abroad is a great way to discover yourself and to experience cultures around the world. I am a Las Vegas local- born and raised. I have traveled all over the world, but Costa Rica was unlike any country I have ever been to. Living there really opened my eyes to the culture and helped me see passed the "tourist" perspective.

So here it is the question: "why should I study abroad?"

Here are my top five reasons why:

5. You get to TRAVEL!

Yes, you are still in the classroom studying during the week, but on the weekends, you can do what you want! I didn't have class Friday-Sunday, so I was able to see MORE of Costa Rica and Latin America. Costa Rica has beautiful bridges, waterfalls, and animals. I got to see them all!

4. You can use your financial aid and scholarships to go!

Studying abroad may not be as expensive as you think. Do you get scholarships, grants, or loans from UNLV? Congratulations, you can use them all towards your travels! You can also apply for USAC specific scholarships (there are a ton).

3. You get to make friends from all over the world in this location!

While I was there, I made friends with Ticos (Costa Rican people), someone who used to work for the United Nations, and people from all around the United States.

2. Your host family is the best host family ever to exist!

This topic brings tears to my eyes every. single. time. My host family was there for me when I cried because I was homesick, they took me dancing in the park, helped me with homework when I didn't understand anything (which was often), and most importantly- made me feel like I was home. My host mom taught me how to cook my favorite Costa Rican dishes, my host dad helped me translate my English to Spanish, and my siblings all helped me around town and let me practice my Spanish with them. Ellos siempre serán mi familia.

1. You will find out things about yourself that you would NEVER had known if you didn't go abroad!

Never would I thought in a millions years I would pack up my current life, and move to a country I have never been to and speak a language I did not know. I traveled to cities solamente, met the friendliest people, and fell in love with another culture. I ate food I would have never tried, befriended people I would have never met, and grew as a human being.

To describe my experience, I will end with a quote:

"That is the irony of travel. The bigger the distance between you and the familiar grow, the smaller and the friendlier the world feels." -Kim Dinan