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The experience of living abroad. TOEFL example essay

Living abroad provides many opportunities and challenges. When I study abroad, I look forward to making friends. By getting to know people, I will be able to improve my English language proficiency. There are idioms and words that are best learned within the context of real conversations with native speakers.


I also look forward to being a participant in a new culture. At the end of my stay, I hope that I will understand the culture in a different and deeper way than is possible when information is derived from only movies and books.

In addition, I am excited about studying on a foreign campus. I expect the college courses to be challenging, and I am eager to learn about the latest technological advances in my field of study.

I am realistic about the disadvantages of foreign study, however. I know that I will miss my family very much. It will be too expensive to return to my country to spend holidays with them, and I will be very lonely during the times when I know that they are gathered for special celebrations.

Another aspect of the experience that I do not look forward to is the reliance on fast food that is so typical of college students. Pizza, hamburgers, and other junk foods are easier to find and prepare than the meals that I enjoy in my country, but they aren't as good, and they probably aren't as healthy.

Finally, I imagine that my life will be very stressful because I will be competing with students who know the language of the classroom and are accustomed to the expectations that the professors have for their students. I am a competitive person by nature, and I am apprehensive about my ability to compete with my classmates.

Once I am living abroad, I will no doubt find many other opportunities to take advantage of and many challenges that I must confront. Nevertheless, I expect my experience to be overwhelmingly positive, and I intend to see the lessons in both adventures and adversity.


An experienced expat, author, and long-time traveler provides realistic examples of popular and interesting ways to live overseas, including some you may not have considered.

At first, adapting to your new country may be met with many challenges as you try to get used to the different culture. Everything from the currency exchange rate to the national holidays and the weather will take some time getting used to. You will need to adapt to the social customs of the people, the shop hours, the work ethic, the cuisine and so on. On the other hand, you may end up preferring some of your adopted country's customs to your own and have a new appreciation for previously unfamiliar conventions.

It is very difficult to live on a day-to-day basis where your communication skills are limited by a language that is foreign to you. If you are moving to a country where your first language is not their first language (or not spoken at all), you will want to start learning the native language right away. Even if you share a common language with your new country, you may be surprised at the confusion you may still face. For example, you may speak American English and move to the U.K. or Australia. Although the language is technically the same, you will find that many words have different meanings in British English and Australian English.

Homesickness is a common complaint among new expatriates. Many say it takes up to two years to fully assimilate into a new culture and lessen feelings of loneliness. Depending on your financial situation and the distance between you and your family and friends at home, visits may be few and far between. Fortunately, technology can help you get your fix from your loved ones in the form of phone calls, email, social networking sites and webcams. If you don't have many ties in your home country, however, moving abroad can give you that fresh start you might be craving.

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