Fellow Study Abroad Students
Most Common Profile
The most common profile in study abroad is students from “elite colleges, white, female, major in arts/humanities, and have highly educated parents.” Let’s see how that compares to me. I am from a small liberal arts school (does that count as elite?), I am white (check), male (nope), I have majors in biology (nope) and Spanish (check), and both of my parents completed high school but never went to college so they would not be considered highly educated.
Now, compared to my fellow study abroad students, that profile fits a bit more. Girls out number guys by slightly more than 2 to 1, most of us are white, I think there are two science majors max (including myself), we have representatives from American University and other liberal arts schools, and I know at least some of them have parents that are medical doctors or have a doctorate in the arts or humanities. This is my first time outside the United States, but I know that at least five others have spent at least a few weeks outside of the U.S. at some point in their lives. So overall, everyone else is more well-traveled than me.
In general, I usually do not think that my background as a first generation college student affects my interactions with my peers. I think it’s a little awkward when someone says that their father is a doctor or that their father has a Ph.D. in Philosophy, but usually, it’s just someone that comes up in a casual conversation and they do not expect me to say what my parents do.
I think that I have learned to be independent and I usually do not rely on others when navigating the college system, and I think that is probably also true for learning how to adjust to life abroad. I just need some time and I make the adjustments on my own. I’m sure that the students that have been abroad may be able to adjust easier, but I don’t really know if it is that different from my fellow study abroad students.