Hi! I am Shaameen Jawad, a Psychology student at AUD. I studied abroad at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) for the Spring 2022 semester as an exchange student and I would like to share my exchange program experience with you.
I had always been interested in the study abroad program since I joined AUD. I feel it is a great opportunity that is provided to students and one should take advantage of this. I wanted to spend a semester abroad to gain experience of what it would be like in a different country. I was able to expand my knowledge of my field and build meaningful connections with the people there as well as the professors.
It can be difficult when it comes to choosing a study abroad program. After speaking with both my Academic Advisor and the Study Abroad & Exchange Coordinator, I decided to apply for the exchange program at Georgia Tech as it is one of the top-ranked partner universities that offer a Psychology major. In addition to Georgia Tech’s well-known Engineering programs, its overall academic programs are also highly ranked in the U.S. and worldwide. Partaking in an exchange program is a great way to be exposed to a different style of the academic environment at another university, especially a reputable one. It is important to check in advance and see which partner universities offer the courses that meet your AUD degree requirements to ensure all your coursework from the exchange program can be transferred back to AUD without deviating from your academic plan. Furthermore, you should familiarize yourself with the visa application process of your destination country beforehand so it is easier for you when the time comes to apply for a student visa. Make sure to write down all of the important dates such as application deadlines, semester starting/ending dates, public holidays, and so on.
Overall, my exchange program application experience was smooth. The only thing I found a little difficult was applying for a visa. However, that was the only hurdle. In terms of the application itself, it is relatively easy and with the help of the Study Abroad & Exchange Coordinator, I was able to submit my application on time. The application process at AUD is quite simple. The system will send you email notifications every step of the way and before you know it, you have already completed the process! There were a few more steps to complete when it comes to my Georgia Tech application, but altogether, it was straightforward.
I had a wonderful time at the host university. I felt comfortable and truly enjoyed my time at Georgia Tech. There were always events going on and never a dull moment. I loved watching the basketball games played at Georgia Tech because they take their sports really seriously. Not just students, families, and alumni would also come to games and cheer for their team. They also held several Psychology major-related events which were always fun to be a part of. Before I left for Atlanta, I was concerned about how culturally different things may be and if I would be able to adjust and adapt quickly. However, despite some cultural differences, the people I met at Georgia Tech were so welcoming and caring that I never really felt any difference. There were also other international students from all parts of the world. It helped that you have a group with whom you can explore Georgia Tech together.
The coursework and assignments were quite similar to AUD so I was able to keep up with all of my courses. My academic learning experience was not only excellent but also very enjoyable. It greatly expanded my learning knowledge of my Psychology major and inspired me to look at things from different perspectives. I am glad that I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and apply for the exchange program. Having to live independently and being exposed to a new environment taught me several important things, all of which had a positive impact on me. I felt that I have grown more mature as a person through the experience. As a result, I would 100% recommend my fellow AUD students consider a semester abroad as part of their AUD degree plan. The experience is very beneficial, not only academically, but on a personal level too. You have a chance to study in a new country, to explore and enjoy your time there. By studying abroad, you may come across new ideas that will inspire you or help you narrow down your future career path. It is also a great opportunity to expand your network and develop meaningful connections with people as you advance in your chosen field.
To future AUD applicants for a semester abroad, here are some suggestions for you:
Life abroad is fun and fulfilling! You might get a little homesick at the beginning of your journey, but you will soon get adjusted. Socialize with people and participate in events so you can make the most out of your time abroad and explore the city you call home for the next few months. It seems so long at first, but trust me, a few months will pass by just like that so use your time wisely to study and enjoy.