A semester spent abroad is a semester that will redefine your world. Carole Mghayar, a student in the Faculty of Humanities (FH) at Notre Dame University–Louaize (NDU) who is currently pursuing a Teaching Diploma with a focus on Education, went to study at the University College of Copenhagen (UCC) in Denmark as an exchange student.
This important cross-cultural learning experience involving NDU and the UCC has taught Carol to be confident and independent, and has helped shape her personality.
According to her, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity away from home helped her grow both academically and personally. She said, “Academically, I learned how to cooperate and work with others as a team since our entire module was based on group discussions and group reflections. Communicating with others was essential in order to come up with great ideas and achieve good results. In addition, I started learning a new language and my fluency in English improved since it was the only common language we spoke in the group. Also, I became familiar with the Danish education system and was able to compare it with the Lebanese one.” Throughout this experience, Carole was able to identify a problem, find a solution, and communicate it to others in order to convert ideas into reality. Creativity is the most important skill we have to improve our society. She added, “I learned how to use my tone of voice so that others would want to listen. Our instructors were extremely supportive and gave us constructive feedback, which helped us rethink mistakes in specifics and improve them.”
On an individual level, she has made friends for life, discovered new cultures, and developed new ways of thinking based on her experience. She said, “Denmark is an organized country and it teaches you how to be more patient and more disciplined. Following a long day, you appreciate the time you have to relax, taking a walk and enjoying the beautiful panoramas that tend to soothe your soul and ease your mind.“
When someone leaves the familiar behind and plunges into the unknown, he or she is showing a commitment to understanding other people, to learning about the world in a way that textbooks and school assignments never reveal. This experience helped Carol develop leadership skills, self-confidence and a greater understanding of the complexities of the world around us. During those four months, she experienced life in another culture and made close friends from around the world.