Alumni stories

UGRADer Erdene's Story

Hello everyone, my name is Erdene and I am an alumna of the UGRAD exchange program. I studied at University of Evansville, in Indiana. I wanted to share about the chances and possibilities you have when you study in the U.S. But that is too mainstream. Plus, you can "Google" it and you will get millions of reasons why you should experience the U.S. Boring you with what you can get from internet is not my intention. So I wanted to share the most difficult moments of mine in the U.S. I hope it will help others who are planning to study in there.

Mongolian students had orientation in Ulaanbaatar before going to the United States. One thing that stuck in my head from the orientation was "cultural shock". I really thought that shock will be something like modern technology and services. I was hoping for a lot of awkward moments to face. When I really got there, there was not really a shock in terms of technology and services. But in reality, everything was organized for people and for their convenience. So, there was not much of a shock. Then I was happy and possibly enjoying everything around me. So I stopped paying attention to the cultural shock thing.

Then the real cultural shock came, and I did not even realize that I was having it. When everything you thought to be true and right is no longer be ultimate truth or righteousness -that was the moment that I lost my confidence. Newness of new place will fade away and there will be you, all by yourself. If you shut yourself down, then you will never be able to expose yourself to the new culture. Living abroad is not just changing location, it is changing your perspectives and finding yourself and redefining your goals. It is an amazing opportunity that requires just a little perseverance. Do not be too attached to the person you left behind. Even it is different than what you used to believe in. It is not going to change who you are but add some new perspectives.

How to overcome cultural shock? Everybody will have their own answer but for my case, I talked. I talked to people every time I was experiencing difference. It helps you to meet new people and plus in the U.S. people like people from different countries. Coming from Mongolia is not mainstream there. Actually, it is an advantage when you meet new people. I talked to students, and I scheduled meeting with school officials. Sometimes getting out of your comfort zone helps you to grow and become better. Studying abroad is the best chance to put yourself out of your comfort zone.

In conclusion, studying and living abroad is not that easy, especially if it is your first time like me. But for me it was the best experience ever. I made a fool out of myself a lot of times just because I was new. But, you know what, being new and building your social status from zero was just an awesome feeling. After one year, I saw myself and new that I became better in every way than I used to be.