About This Whole Thing

Salut, mon amie! Bienvenue sur mon blog.

My name is Helena Schmidt, and I studied abroad in Brussels, Belgium, in the 2017 summer semester, between May 21st and July 7th. I extended my stay in Europe until July 17th to enjoy what I thought would the only trip to Europe I’d ever make. If you really want to go again, challenges or setbacks won’t stop you – it sure as hell won’t stop me.

Among my many reasons to study abroad, I can list “learning French without paying for the credits”, “visiting UN institutions”, “figuring out what the hell the EU does/is”, “get an internship that is not in my university” and “become international²”. I also wanted to meet a friend I met at IPFW when she was studying abroad from France, and a friend I met in high school from Greece. I decided to travel to “places which were not Paris” only when I got there and Europeans explained to me how pointless it was to go to Paris alone. So, I explored Brussels (and Belgium in general), studied for my class, invested in my internship with New Europe, a newspaper on EU affairs, and visited a couple cities that seemed interesting, like Amsterdam, which were high in cultural experience.

I’m an international student from Brasil (yeah, with an “s”) at IPFW, a junior at the time I went abroad. I major in Journalism and English writing, and am trying to hoard as much coursework in political science as possible in order to pursue a Masters in International Relations. I got a bunch of scholarships to help me afford this trip, in addition to the cash I had been saving since freshman year and the tickets, which my parents sponsored. Among them, the honors program generously accepted my application for a scholarship, and for that I’m grateful – and sharing my experience.

If you ever thought about studying abroad, this might help you weigh the benefits to make a decision. If you never thought about studying abroad, then you must read this – nothing prepares you for life like jumping headfirst into a setting you know fairly little about. Seriously, go abroad. It makes you love your own country more, it makes you know yourself better, and it helps you understand a diverse range of peoples and cultures.

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