8 Most Common Regrets Of Study Abroad Alumni

1. I should have let loose earlier.

Many people said they stayed in their comfort zone for too long. Many built surrogate homes, only ventured within a few blocks of their housing, or shopped at the same place everyday. Many study abroad alumni said that they did eventually break out of their shell and that is when the real experience began.

2. I wish I hadn’t lived with someone I knew and roomed with a stranger.

Many people study abroad with people they know. Resist the urge to build your life together. Having a contact in your new home will be fantastic, but meeting new people will be even better.

3. I didn’t spend enough time with my host family.

Studying abroad is anything but boring. There are plenty of activities; new sites, tastes, places to see, and people to meet are everywhere. While this is sort of the point, many people ended up flying from one thing to the next the whole time. Alumni sited not spending enough time with their host family as a regret.

Those little moments at home can be just as great as the out-and-about part and often create some of the best memories. People who didn’t make this mistake still talk to their host families, plan on visiting them, and felt very comfortable during their time abroad. Also, homestays often include meals which may be eaten with the family. This results in some of the best language practice you can get not to mention delicious meals and inside jokes.

4. I thought about home quite a bit and pictured everyone exactly the same. 

Something that makes time abroad difficult and returning even harder is not just thinking about home, but HOW you think about home. Many students say that a major issue was envisioning home exactly as they had left it. They pictured friends in the same booth, ordering the same meals, dating the same people, and listening to the same music. The truth is their life is moving along just like yours. If you picture dropping back into life just as you left it, you are setting yourself up for a rude awakening and some serious reverse culture shock.

5. I had the best intentions, but didn’t take enough pictures or record anything.

Intentions are about as useful as a square wheel. So many students start a journal or create a blog only to come home with two entries. Taking just a little time to record your experiences will be priceless after you return home. So much is happening; it will be hard to keep it all straight.

Take just a 10 to 15 minutes a day or every few days to say a little about how you are feeling, a person you met, or place you visited. It can also serve as a great resource for future trips! You don’t want to forget the name of that awesome restaurant you found or that tour guide that made the trip.

6. I should have tried harder to learn the language.

This is your chance. It is profoundly easy to cling to every bit of English you can find whether it’s in a roommate or on the TV. If you’re program is taught in English in a country with a different national language, it is important to put in a little effort. Many programs will include language lessons or groups. Make yourself communicate in the language on the streets and avoid spending time with ONLY fellow English speakers.

7. I didn’t really do anything on campus.

Extracurriculars, clubs, festivals, and other on-campus opportunities will be available. Looking back many people wished they had taken advantage of them. It is such a great way to tailor your experience. Get involved in something you are truly passionate about while surrounded by people from your location of choice! It is also a chance to try something new like playing soccer or dancing salsa.

8. My only regret is that I didn’t stay longer.

This is easily the most popular item. Four months, the length of a typical semester, can seem like such a long time to be away from home initially, but think about your last four months. How fast did they go? How much have you changed or learned? In truth, four months is an incredibly short amount of time that will fly. It may take several weeks to feel at home, but after that staying as long as possible usually becomes the number one concern.


by ANNIE BIERBOWER 10 March 2014


Want to Blog for Cal Poly Pomona Study Abroad?

CPP Study Abroad is looking for great storytellers to blog about their time abroad, whether it’s a quarter, semester, summer or academic year with CPP or a non-CPP program. If sharing your study abroad experience through writing, video, photos and/or other media while receiving professional feedback appeals to you, consider applying for the CPP Featured Blogger program! We’re particularly interested in hearing from students who currently blog or are interested in building their writing portfolio prior to graduation. Stories from Featured Bloggers will be published on the CPP Study Abroad Blog and through other social media channels throughout the year.

What are the minimum requirements?
• Be accepted to a Study Abroad program
• Respond to writing prompts form CPP Study Abroad Department
• Submit at least two blog posts containing original content per month throughout the duration of your program

What is required while you’re abroad?
• Respond to periodic writing prompts from the CPP Study Abroad Department
• Submit at least two posts per month by deadlines
• Submit posts through the CPP Study Abroad Blog platform

What are the benefits of the program?
• Expand your writing portfolio
• Grain writing experience and exposure
• Build your resume
• Be a Study Abroad Ambassador!

How do I apply?
• Email golguin@cpp.edu for application
• Application deadlines are as follows:
o Fall and Academic Year programs – July 1
o Spring programs – Jan 1
o Summer programs – May 1

Contact the CPP Study Abroad Department at studyabroad@cpp.edu

People Make Glasgow Part 3



Above and below are pictures that were taken within the same weekend. During my last month in Scotland, I sought to visit as many of my friends’ hometowns as I could. So I made it to all of the ones who mattered most. Here, I’m with my good friend still who lived in Inverurie, Aberdeen. We were house sitting for one of her neighbors and got to spend some time with this lovely guy, Indie.


As I said, this picture was also taken around the same time as the one above, perhaps only a day later. The cows are kind of far away – they wouldn’t come up to the fence to greet me, unfortunately – but if you look closely, you’ll notice that they look a wee different than “normal” cows. These orange, extra-hairy, horned cows are specific to Scotland, known as Highland cows, or Highland coos, if you’d like to say it in the right ol’ Scottish way, and are typically found up in sparse areas of the Highlands.


Toward the end of my stay, my good friend and I stumbled upon The Lighthouse. Though not a real lighthouse, the building allows for a great view of the skyline of Glasgow. One can even go outside, if you so choose, and take pictures from a secure balcony. I was just glad I was able to make it here before I had to leave. In fact, it was today that I had to leave this good friend behind.


So as you’re guessing the theme of this last post, I also took this photo while off visiting another close friend of mine. Though he had meant a little more than just that – so I’d found the picturesque landscape of the Prestwick beach at sunset a great place to take a snap. He’d apparently thought so too and took one of me when I wasn’t looking. See – the sun does sometimes shine here in Scotland. Just got to know where to look for it.


By this time, it was late June and I had to kiss my travels goodbye. This is a photo I took with my flatmates – the three other girls in front, though we’re missing one – and the rest were our “international boys”. Friends from Macedonia, France, Singapore and Ukraine. This photo was taken a few days before most of them left, in the heart of George Square.

If you get anything out of this, it’s that traveling is not just about the opportunity to study in another country, but the opportunity to immerse. Cal Poly Pomona’s exchange program really allowed me to blossom into the person I’d been trying to be before. So – don’t hesitate to come in and learn about your opportunity to flourish in another country. Though I would highly recommend Scotland myself, any of them will do the trick.

Cheers xx


Melbourne Exchange Tips

“Book a return flight trip before you leave to the country. You can always change your flight back to the home country at a small fee if needed. It is usually cheaper than booking two one-way trips if you don’t know exactly when you are coming back.” -Junior, Mechanical Engineering

“If you decide to live in the suburbs, make sure to get a concession card for public transport (only available to exchange not international students) — it’ll save half the price. Also, you are able to the change trams, trains, buses for 0 charge within 2 hours of the first time $$ was deducted . Taking the tram in the city is free — if you tap, YOU WILL be charged. Officers do check frequently so make sure you tap when you’re supposed to and always bring your concession card. I heard that Melbourne Central charges you around $9 for the concession card, but if you get it somewhere else they only charge around $3.” -Junior, International Business

“Plan classes well ahead of time, and research the city.” -Sophomore, Business

“I would only recommend people at RMIT to find their own apartment or house like I found most exchange students did (off gumtree site), don’t stay at the RMIT Village.” -Senior, Psychology

“Since Melbourne is known for their coffee and cafes, brunch can range from $14- $20 AUD. Overall, I guess it balances out since you don’t have to pay tips” -Junior, International Business



Tips to Traveling Abroad

If you have already decided you’re going abroad, don’t worry! The infamous Buzzfeed has some great tips for you to encourage you in your upcoming journey and also equip you with some great advice!

And if you haven’t decided you’re going abroad, do! It’s an amazing experience that you won’t regret – no matter where you go.

Check out the useful tips Here. 

Remember, don’t hesitate to come into the International Center for more information, advice or to ask about a specific program!

– You can have the world in your hands – if you’re brave enough to take hold of it –

Cheers xx

People Make Glasgow Part 2

So, as promised, here is the second part of my Glaswegian experience.


At the end of week 2, some of my flatmates and I went to discover the Glasgow Necropolis, which is conveniently located right behind Strathclyde. You hardly have to exert yourself at all. It was a cold day, and as you can see, a tad snowy. But it was beautiful. Refreshing. Peaceful.


This is the lovely George Square. I was here for an international center pub crawl event week 4, walked through it with mountaineering club around the 2nd month, and explored it by myself on particularly rainy days. This day, I was out by myself. George Square is iconic to Glasgow and a very central spot. It is, as you can also see, very beautiful.


At the end of week 4, my flatmates and I took a weekend trip with the Strathclyde international center. They were taking us to the Isle of Skye, a supposed beautiful spot of Highlands. Once again, it was cold and snowy – we actually ran into a blizzard of sorts halfway up – but they did not lie about the supposed beauty one bit. If I could post all of the pictures of it, I would, but I’m choosing to focus on this because of the significance it holds. I, after all, am an honorary Scot. You may also recognize this spot, known as Glencoe, as a flyover shot seen in the Prisoner of Azkaban movie.


Last one – I went out with these girls often. The one on my right is still one of my best friends to this day, 7 months after I’ve flown home. Whenever her Scottish friends had a birthday, she would bring me along as a sort of plus one. This night was one of the latter evenings, one of my last ones out with her and them. We always had a great time.

Part 3 to come later next week, but that will be the final one.

Cheers xx

People Make Glasgow Part 1

So last year, around this time, I spent 6 months in Glasgow, Scotland studying at Strathclyde University under an exchange program offered here at my home university, Cal Poly Pomona. I don’t want to be clique and say that it was the best experience of my life, but it really was. Instead of babbling about it with just words, I thought I would describe it using pictures.

10947246_10203315212062769_803392445823600475_n I wanted to start with this one, which is, as you guessed, a selfie, because I took it my first day in Glasgow. I was on my own, staying in a hotel, and I saw that they had complimentary Irn Bru and tea cakes. I am a large advocate of Irn Bru – it is Scottish soda you can only find in Scotland, certain stores from England and on Amazon if you’re really desperate – that is extra fizzy, sweet and, clearly, orange. You can even collect the bottle tartans!

10906170_10203320762761533_2253854042903993242_n On my second day in Glasgow, I walked down to the infamous Buchanan Street, where malls are prevalent and cars nonexistent. Bands, singers and single pipers come out here to entertain the Scots as they walk amongst the shops, battling the cold. Ironically, the last time I had been in Glasgow had been 4 years ago for the 2012 London Olympics. I had just been passing through, but this same drummer and bagpipe band had been playing on this same street then, too. As if welcoming me back once again.

IMG_2384 I found him during my first week as well. The Duke of Wellington, complete with traffic cone, standing guard to the GOMA, or Glasgow Museum of Modern Art. He, of course, did not start out with the cone on his head. One of the more iconic statues in Glasgow, it is famous purely for its mystery. One morning, the cone was there, and no matter how many times it is taken down, it always comes back. No one knows who does it or why. But now, the Duke of Wellington is incomplete without his cone.

10488391_10203393672544232_8139375925926411899_n Week two into my studies, some of my newer-made Scottish friends decided to invite me out on a “Pub Golf” outing. Themed accordingly, the goal was to hit nine pubs, like a small game of golf, and live to tell the tale. These sorts of adventures are very common in Scotland and end up being memorable experiences, to say the least. I didn’t win this pub crawl contest, unfortunately, but I did grow closer to the people I was with and gain new friendships as more Scots joined us throughout the night.


Part two to come later next week.

Cheers xx



A Summer in Paris

Studying abroad is an enriching experience. This past summer I went to Paris. The experience is unforgettable, from the food, friends and memories made. Studying in another country, is stepping outside one’s comfort zone. Experiencing another culture allows us to learn more about ourselves and where we come from.

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Cité Université

The Cité Université is a series of housing, where many of the students stayed. The housing is named after different countries, and each house aims to host a mixture of students from that country and others. Expect to meet lots of people from all over the world!

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An overview of the city from the Eiffel Tower. Public transportation in Paris is one of the best. From the Cité Université, traveling isn’t a problem. Besides that, there also is the opportunity to travel to other countries besides France.


Expect to become extremely close with the people you meet. Studying abroad with other students is a bonding experience. All the shared memories will make you smile, laugh and maybe even cry when it’s over.

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La Tour Eiffel

Visiting the Eiffel Tower on multiple occasions, from pic-nicking to watching fireworks on Bastille Day. There’s so much to do and an abundance of events that happen within Paris, don’t miss out on all the opportunities!

Saint Malo

One of the weekend excursions to Saint Malo in northern France. I remember this weekend because it was also the same weekend I had the best hot chocolate of my life in Dinon. Besides Saint Malo, there are trips to the D-Day Beaches, Versailles, Vaux le Victome, and many other trips and experiences.

Going to another country, speaking another language, learning about another culture are all invaluable experiences. Take the chance if you can, it’s a learning experience. From learning more about yourself to the place you call home.