Cultural Exchange: Testimonial of Silvia, IEF student

Silvia, IEF

Studying in another country is an experience with no comparison. It provides you with new learning, and fills you with new experiences and new friends. It broadens your horizons both personally and professionally, and allows you to absorb a new culture first-hand. Today I want to tell you why I would go back, again and again, to participate in a language stay abroad. By the way, I am Silvia and I come from Venezuela. I spent eight months studying French in IEF. This is the second language I have learned in a native country, and I am sure it will not be the last one.

Cultural exchange will always be my favorite part of a language stay abroad

I understood that the world is infinite

Yes, I had imagined it, but studying abroad definitely confirmed it. We live in a giant place, full of different ways of thinking, methods of communicating, stories to discover and dishes to try. My curiosity has increased with every person I meet who tells me about his country and his culture. I have felt small in front of so much to see, but every day I grow a little more aware of what is around me. This consciousness only makes my desire to explore the world to grow daily. In addition, I have discovered I enjoy telling people about where I come from and explaining why I think my country is special. Communicating to other people what is on my side of the world is one of the things I like most. Cultural exchange will always be one of my favorite parts of the whole study abroad process.

Silvia and the cultural program

I am more open to people

Silvia, exchange

I had never been one of those people who introduced themselves to a stranger or dared to ask them a whole list of questions. I accept that sometimes I can be a little shy at early moments, then I just go on. I feel incredible every time a new person feels comfortable telling me where they come from, why they are there and what their plans are. Every new person I meet leaves me with new learning. One of the greatest results has been to understand that we are all the same and sharing our experiences connects us to each other.

I have friends all over the world

After my language stays, I can say my friends are international. It seems I have a house in any place of the world where I can arrive and it feels like home. From my previous stay in London, where I spent a year learning English, I made some excellent friends, who still have contact with me even eight years later. Actually, I have already visited two of them in their home countries and it has been one of the best experiences I have ever had.

Silvia, IEF with friends

I’m a lot less complicated

I used to worry about minor things; now that’s a thing of the past. When you are far from your country, your home and your daily life, you learn you should always be open to changes and be more flexible. Believe me, on the other side of the world nothing is remotely similar to what you are accustomed to, and you will understand the new country will not change for you, but you must be more accessible and mold yourself. This does not mean that you should change your essence, but that flexibility has to be part of your new life. In the end, you will discover everything new will help you to grow personally and you will be grateful after each experience.

A great chance to discover myself

Although being away from home may seem difficult at first, it is said that the best way to understand ourselves is to go to a place where everything is new, where we don’t hear opinions or suggestions from others who know us in depth. Understanding yourself is learning what you are capable of, where you are going and what you are really looking for. Being far from my normality has allowed me to become stronger, more open and more aware of what my goals are. I always go back home with a different view of the world and myself. I always discover a multitude of things I did not see before.

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