Studying abroad can be a wonderful, life-changing experience, but it is one met with lots of stress. Transitioning to a new culture, academic rigor, being far from family and friends, living with new people, and many other factors can complicate life abroad as well as your return home. Program coordinators are faced with many of these and other related issues on a daily basis with their students.
Study abroad coaching is a unique form of life coaching specifically for students embarking on an overseas adventure. It is an opportunity to get in touch with what is most important to them about their trip, create their vision and then obtain the tools and support to make it reality. The student receives coaching before, during and after their time abroad to assist in all the phases of transition. There really is no better time for self-growth!
Study abroad coaching is about empowering students to become more self-aware in order to make conscious choices during their time abroad and in their lives. It is also then about translating this experience into marketable competencies on their resumes and connecting it to future career trajectory and life goals.
Many programs do a wonderful job at explaining the physical logistics of studying abroad such as where you’ll be living, who your roommate is, where classes are held, rules and policies, and so on. Some may even include the basics of culture shock and what to expect emotionally.
This is not just about cross-cultural education, however. Study Abroad Coaching actually addresses the student’s whole life and empowers them to enter into the clifton college experience consciously. Providing unbiased, trained support before, during, and after their time overseas can have profound impact on their overall experience and be the difference between an ordinary and an extraordinary program abroad!
The following outlines the three basic phases of the study abroad experience and examples of how coaching can benefit during each:
Preparation Phase (prior to student departure)
o Clarify your vision for the experience they want
o Develop meaningful goals
o Prepare emotionally for the road ahead
o Discuss fears and/or limiting beliefs
o Identify innate talents and passions
o Define higher purpose and calling
Academic Program Phase (student departs and completes time overseas)
o Work through initial transition and “culture shock” (this can include feelings of stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, homesickness and many more)
o Get out of your comfort zone and re-examine your life
o Deepen your experience of international life
o Connect the cultural and academic aspects of the experience to personal and professional goals
o Provide emotional support to live out the experience you desire
o Accountability regarding the vision and personal goals set forth before the program began
o Address any self-limiting beliefs that arise during the time overseas