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While You’re Away

Immerse Yourself

Many students cite immersion – cultural and/or linguistic – as one of their mains goals while studying away. Here are some suggestions on how to intentionally immerse yourself:

Do you play an instrument or a sport? Do you have a hobby? Find an individual or group who share your interests.

Working on learning a language? Find a native speaker of the local language who would like to learn English (or another language you speak) and take turns practicing and learning languages.

Make a meal for friends, classmates, homestay family, professors, etc. Share your favorite recipes from home. This can be used as an entrée into discussing cultural differences – cuisine-­related and otherwise.

Enrolled at a local university? Join a school club. If you’re in a student organization at Mac, chances are you can find a similar group in your study away destination. If not, pursue a new interest.

Are you on a group-oriented program and take all your classes with students from the U.S.? Studying on or near a local university’s campus can be a great way to meet local peers, hear about events and get a feel for what it’s like to be a local college student.

Spending too much time with other students from the U.S.? Make a conscious decision to take yourself away from the group. This could mean dinner with a local friend or going to an event (lecture, concert, film, etc.) alone. Depending upon the local culture, it can be easier to make connections with locals when alone as compared to being with a large group of U.S. students.

Do you find yourself spending most of your out-­of-­class time with people who are about the same age as you? Getting to know people older and younger than you can help deepen your understanding of your host culture. If you’re living with a homestay family, hang out with the parents or grandparents as well as the children. If you’re not living with a family, but have made friends with local peers, ask to visit their home. You might hit it off with another member of the family too. People who are older than college students may respond well if you ask them to teach you something. Ask to learn how to prepare a local dish, watch a sports game, play chess, etc.

Just like checking out to see what’s going on in Minneapolis St. Paul, you should try to research and attend local events. Concerts, films, lectures, performances, festivals, etc. Can’t find anything? Ask professors, program staff, and others for suggestions.

Looking for something to do after class? In many countries, cafés, restaurants, community centers and other places where people gather post fliers. Join a book club, learn how to tango, join a knitting circle, etc.

Interested in knowing how a certain aspect of life works where you’re studying, but find it’s not being explained in your classes? Do some research on your own! It doesn’t have to demand too much of your time and effort, you’ll learn something you didn’t know before, and you’ll connect with locals along the way. You could investigate how fresh produce reaches markets in the city where you’re studying, or find out the story behind a statue that you walk by everyday.

Macalester Resources

DeWitt Wallace Library

  • Watch an orientation video on how the Library can support you during study away (video)
  • Database access: If you can get online, you can most likely get to the library databases to assist you with research while studying away. Use links from the library website.
  • Get Articles: While the Library can’t ship books overseas, they will supply you with PDFs of articles you request via ILLiad. Requests can include things we have in our library. Just mention “study away” in the comments box in the request form.
  • Ask for help: Use the “ask us” link on the Library site to send an email research question or chat with them online.

Sexual Assault Prevention and Support

Registering for Macalester Classes While Off Campus

While studying away, you will register for the Macalester courses you will take the fall/spring after your semester away. About three weeks before registration, the Registrar’s Office will email you to make sure you can be contacted electronically while away. If you have internet access, then registration will be through 1600grand, just as if you were on campus. If you cannot access the internet, you can work out an alternative with the Registrar’s Office.

Please read the Registration FAQ from FAP (far away places)(PDF) for more information.