What is it like to go on an international exchange? Bachelor of Arts graduate, Azmeet Dhillon shares how her time in Mexico positively changed her personal and professional goals.
After going on a two week vacation to the Dominican Republic, I became obsessed with learning Spanish and decided to go on an international exchange. When I returned from my vacation to the DR, I enrolled in the Spanish language program at SFU and then promptly made my way to SFU International to enquire about going abroad.
My goal was to immerse myself in the Spanish language because I felt it was the best way for me to learn. Finally, in the Spring of 2005, I went on an exchange to ITESM in Monterrey, Mexico, which is situated underneath Texas, in Northeastern Mexico where I spent five months studying Spanish. At the time, I didn’t realize that this exchange would have such a profound effect on me and end up teaching me so much more than the Spanish language.
One of the most memorable things about my exchange was meeting people from all over the world, many who were fellow foreign exchange students like me. It was through these individuals that I realized how important it is to travel and see the world. Being abroad showed me how similar people are regardless of where they come from; we all want to feel welcomed and accepted.
I was amazed with how accomplished so many of the students were, many were well traveled or had accomplished a lot academically. They showed me that it was possible to have fun and enjoy life, while still being serious about school. Meeting this group of people made me vow to myself to work as hard as possible and to always strive for the best.
In the two years since I have been back, I completed my B.A. in English as well as my Certificate in Spanish language proficiency. I will be starting the PDP program in September where I will once again return to Mexico for the international module in Oaxaca. I know that when I become a high school teacher, I will definitely encourage my students to take advantage of Study Abroad programs because I feel that they open a door to a brand new world.
Going on an exchange allowed me to see the world from a brand new perspective and experience life in a way that I would never have been able to at home. I gained many valuable life experiences and made so many friends that I will be forever changed.
I learned that what you see in others is more a reflection of yourself, and if you are looking for something you are going to find it. I now jump at the chance to take risks and try something new because what you are looking for is not going to come find you when you are sitting on your couch at home!
Beyond the Blog
- Visit the Study Abroad page to learn more about opportunities like Azmeet's!