The Global Study Awards scholarships help students finance their studies abroad. The Brazilian student Clara is one of the winners and is currently studying in the Nethelands. In this blog post she will share her experiences of winning the award and the Netherlands.
Hey everyone! I’m Clara and I’m one of the 2017 Global Study Awards winners and I thought I could share a little bit about my experiences of studying abroad so far.
Little background story, I graduated in Law in Brazil and currently I’m in The Netherlands studying International Public Law at Leiden University. No I did not make my choice based on the weather, I can’t even step outside without some rain and end up looking like something my friend once called “the drowned rat look”. Brilliant.
Though my programme only started in September, I feel like my journey started long ago. I did tons and tons of research: what program I want to do? Which university was the best fit for me? How am I going to finance my studies?
After choosing the Netherlands. (and Leiden!), I came across the Global Study awards and decided to give it a go. I knew it would be a tough competition, but I put a lot of thought into my application and decided to let my passion for human rights shine through and here I am! Best scholarship ever!I can’t express how grateful I am for all the people amazing people I met, these guys are seriously the best <3
Enough rambling, let me tell ya a few things I learned so far about living abroad.
First, I definitely learned how to be more organized. As you can see from my desk:
^^ Organisation skills ;)
Ok, jokes aside, you definitely learn how to be more methodic. You will have to deal with all sorts of paperwork and institutions you are probably not familiar with, in a different country and in a language which probably isn’t your mother tongue. It can be overwhelming sometimes, for example here in the Netherlands I needed to “ inschrijven” in the “gemeente” to get a BSN. I couldn’t even pronounce that, to begin with, but it all works out and you will learn to keep all documents and forms in a comprehensive manner so you don’t get lost in them. As you can tell from how my desk looks, I am not the tidiest person and hey, if I managed to get my stuff together and not get kicked out of the country, you can do it too.
The second thing I can share is that your English will improve a lot. I like to think my English was fairly decent beforehand, but doing your studies in English will definitely push you further. In the beginning be prepared to take a little extra time to do your reading for classes etc, but once you get used to the specific and technical vocabulary of your area, you’ll be fine. Afterwards, this skill will look great on your CV! Having sufficient language skills to work in a foreign language is really something that can help you stand out when looking for a job (someone said globalization? Yup)
Finally, nothing can prepare you enough for how much you will grow. Cultural shock is real folks, and it teaches you how to be more tolerant. It put things in perspective - outside of your culture, you begin to approach things more critically. Maybe the way you been doing things is not the only way out there. It may seem obvious, but sometimes we take our own values and logic for granted, without realizing they are not the exclusive manner of dealing with issues.
In short, my experience so far has been all in all amazing. It is not all rainbows and unicorns, sometimes I do get homesick and tired of having sandwiches for lunch or being soaked wet all. the. time.
But this experience has been essential for my future career and I met so many amazing people and made so many friends. If I had to do it all over again, I would do it in a blink of an eye. :)
That’s all I have to share today, but please if you wanna know something or if there’s something you would like to hear just comment here and I’ll happily answer.
See ya next time!
Do you also want to win a Global Study Award? Then take a look over here for more info and to apply.