How to overcome the fear of studying abroad? Interview with Maria Dosheva.
Leaving your comfort zone by studying abroad for the first time might be quite challenging. Especially when you are not able to speak the local language during the first days of living abroad.
How to overcome the fear of studying abroad?
And how to adapt faster in a new environment?
Meet our today’s guest – Maria Dosheva from Bulgaria.
Before coming to Poland for her first-cycle study, Maria has visited Poland as a participant in an Erasmus+ projects. During her time in the university, she has joined a lot of international student clubs. Thanks to that, she was able to engage with a lot of international friends from various countries and backgrounds and took part in a lot of international events.
Ready? Then buckle up! Here is our interview with her:
Hi Maria. Please tell us your story!
Hi, my name is Maria and I come from Velingrad, Bulgaria. Currently, I am living and studying in Rzeszów at the University of Information Technology and Management. I have
chosen this university because it is one of the very few in Europe that offers the major that I wanted – General Aviation. Little did I know, however, that the university would offer me much more than just studies. Apart from all the lectures and classes, students get a chance to join different student clubs and organizations depending on their hobbies and interests. The best part is that there is something for everyone - sports, music, photography, politics, foreign languages, etc.
Sounds amazing! Could you tell us about the international student organizations that you have joined?
The ones that I have joined are English Club, Student Center for European Union Research and Aviation Management Club.
As strange as it sounds, even though people come here to for studies in English, many of them are actually afraid to speak English outside the classroom simply because they are
scared that they are not good enough at it. Because of that, a lot of students only stick to their peers who speak their native language. The aim of English Club is to encourage everyone to make friends with people from different countries and get first-hand knowledge about their history and culture. Every time we meet we do something different. We listen to presentations of students about their home countries, organize debates, play games or just spend time by watching movies. That is really a great way to spend time after a long day of classes.
Student Center for European Union Research or EU Club, as we like to call it, focuses on promoting the current state of affairs in the European Union among university students. We learn about the legislation, history and economic aspects of the organization and organize different events on campus. Apart from that our club is responsible for conducting the annual Amnesty International campaign ‘Write for Rights’ at our university. Every year hundreds of thousands of people all over the world send letters on behalf of someone whose basic human rights have been attacked in order to seek justice for them. Our goal is to engage as many people as possible in this initiative and therefore this event is open for everyone, not only for students and university staff.
Aviation Management Club is open for anyone who is interested in commercial aviation. The non-scientific section of the club is pretty casual. We just meet up and discuss current news from the industry. However, for people who are more interested, there is the opportunity to work with a supervisor, do research on different aviation-related topics, write scientific articles and participate in conferences both in Poland and abroad.
Sounds really fun, but how do you join a student club?
At the beginning of every academic year, the university organizes a club fair and brings together all the student organizations under one roof, on our main campus in Rzeszow. That way freshmen can explore all the different ways they can get involved in extra-curricular activities. They get to know the current members of different clubs, ask them questions, play games, take quizzes and win prizes. When students leave the fair, they need to vote for the club that impressed them the most and the club that gets the highest number of votes wins an award.
Through the student organizations, did you have any chance to organize any events
outside the university?
Yes, we did. In Rzeszów, international students or foreigners in general are quite active in making a positive impact on society. For example, there is an NGO called INPRO. This
organization focuses on the personal development and non-formal education of young people in Rzeszow and Podkarpackie province in general. They host volunteers from all over the world and organize various projects in cooperation with schools, universities and other similar organizations. Our EU Club has already cooperated with some of the volunteers. Back in 2019 they helped us organize an event to promote the upcoming EU Parliament elections at UITM. Later, they invited us to take part in a Global Village event at a local high school they have already been working with. It has been a great experience.
How do student clubs affect your adaptability in a new country?
Going to live abroad for the first time can be quite scary in the beginning. Everything is new and there are so many things to get used to. Student clubs provide you with a great
opportunity to make new friends who are just as lost and confused as you are, haha.
Any last thoughts before we wrap it up?
This might sound like the biggest cliché, but I would tell them that real things start happening only after you leave your comfort zone. Living in a country and not speaking the local language is not so scary. What is more, if you have the desire to, you can always learn it, if not fluently, then at least conversationally. Going for studies abroad is an absolutely exciting journey. Going off the beaten track is something even more exciting.
Thank you for reading this article. Hopefully, it was interesting for you! :)