Advice on Studying Abroad? Locations?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by CalPoly10, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. CalPoly10 macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2006
    I am planning on studying abroad in the Spring of 2009, and I am currently going to school in San Luis Obispo, CA. I am a caucasian male, very social, intelligent, and love new exciting things, as well as beautiful places.

    I have 6 different cities to choose from, and I am stuck on where I would like to go. I want to gain a very memorable, exciting, and spontaneous experience from the travels, and meet interesting people, have exciting stories, etc.

    Here are my choices:
    1) Taichung Country, Taiwan
    2) Helsinki, Finland
    3) Nanjing, China
    4) Seoul, South Korea
    5) Melbourne, Australia
    6) San Sebastian, Spain

    I am studying engineering, and these are the schools which offer courses for my major.

    I basically would like advice, tips, stories, or whatever you can give me about any of these spots.

    Thank you!
  2. iGuardian macrumors 6502a


    Aug 26, 2008
    I'd go to Australia if I were you, as English is the standard language there, day to day life would be easier. Unless you know other languages...
  3. adk macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2005
    Stuck in the middle with you
    NO! Don't take the english speaking country because it's easier route! You can get by anywhere with a pad and paper and a phrasebook. My roommate spend two months in Lisbon without knowing a word of Portuguese and loved it.
  4. CalPoly10 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2006
    I'm sure Australia would be great, but I get the feeling it would be too much like California. Everyone is white, speaking english, etc.
  5. CalPoly10 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2006
    C'mon, I know MacRumors is full of people from all here?
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I wouldn't go to Australia or Spain (San Sebastien). If you want challenging, then pick Taichung, Nanjing, or Finland.

    Seoul is one of the top 3 most expensive cities in the world to live (maybe second to Moscow) last I heard, but it's fantastic. It's the perfect balance between being "different", while still being very modern, offering all the things you may have a craving for later. The things are there if you go out and look for it, but you can easily avoid all the familiarities of home.

    Nanjing is probably similar, but cheaper.

    Taichung is really nice. I've been to Taiwan. Cheap like China, but they're less severe if you find that you did something wrong. ;)

    Personally, I'd choose either Nanjing or Helsinki.
  7. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    Are there other people from your school who have gone on those programs? It was good to hear about all the study abroad options from other people at my school who had gone on them. I can't offer help on any of the specific places you've mentioned, but I will say that going to Australia could be a bit of a soft option. Take the plunge on a real foreign experience. A little language self study before you go and social immersion once you get there and you'll get by no problem.

    I'm going abroad to Rennes, France in a week for the fall semester. I'm pretty excited. :D
  8. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I would go wherever your studies will flourish the most. If I were majoring in say architecture, I'd go somewhere best known for the architecture over anything else. Maybe that doesn't make sense.
  9. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    I would go to Australia myself. It's a beautiful country with very beautiful people (especially the male of the Aussie species :p). While Melbourne wouldn't be as exciting as, say, Sydney, it can still offer its own charms.

    Now if you were a political science major (like me) I'd say Canberra all the way, but that's a discussion for a different thread. :p
  10. LilyFun macrumors newbie


    Aug 28, 2008
    My stepson is in Finland studying their language and culture. He seems to enjoy it. However, his cellphone doesn't work there and they have no public phone booths. That is the only negative thing about his experience. Otherwise, he enjoys it.

    I've been to Seoul and loved it. The shopping was fantastic! You will find a lot of culture and beauty wherever you go. My son's former roommate was from Seoul. He was here studying english in San Francisco. I find the South Korean people extremely friendly and fun to be with. They have aclimated to the western culture but somehow have retained their rich culture and traditions. If you want the best of both worlds, Seoul probably has a larger American population due to the military bases. So you will most likely bump into an American here and there that may be able to help you maneuver your way around the country.

    As an engineering major, I would pick the country that would be able to provide you with the best educational experience in engineering... Too bad Japan isn't on your list of countries... China probably has a lot of opportunities and english is a 2nd language (with a British accent to boot. :p)

    Good luck!;)
  11. CalPoly10 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2006
    Here's where I'm at.

    I am studying Industrial Engineering, which is applicable to just about EVERY type of business. China would be the most useful place to go, but I want to have a great experience as well.

    I am leaning towards San Sebastian, Seoul, and China. I feel like Australia would be too much like the U.S. I have no desire to go to Taiwan (right now atleast), and Finland doesn't really have the history I want to be immersed in.

    I really like San Sebastian because it is very close to France, is on the coast, and is beautiful.

    Abstract - Why are you against Spain?
  12. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I never meant I was "against" Spain. I just think of San Sebastian as a tourist destination rather than a place to really have a good experience. It would be like studying for a semester in Mexico and choosing Puerto Vallarta. The only reason to pick San Sebastian is to easily go between Spain and France, and to travel to other parts of Europe. On the other hand, if you travel to Nanjing or Taichung, you'd spend less money and travel to much cooler places. Travelling also costs less in much of Asia.

    And good choice not picking Australia. I'm Canadian and live in Australia now. It's nice and all, but it would just be more of the same. Sydney is like Toronto with better year-round weather (their summers are around the same), nice beaches and a fairly overrated bridge. That's it. Melbourne is like Vancouver, but probably 5 C warmer in each season. Vancouver is also closer to beaches. ;) Australia is great, but I'd still recommend ANY of the other places on your list before I'd recommend Australia to you.

    Between the 3 places you chose, I'd pick Nanjing, then Seoul, then San Sebastian. See China now before it gets even bigger and more expensive.

    That's not the country's fault. They use the most common mobile phone frequencies in the world (900 and 1800 MHz), and GSM. If anything, America uses something less standard. Most users of 850 MHz are in the US, Canada tagged along, and then so did Mexico, and all the way down to South America. This was just for compatibility with the US, not because it's the most standard. ;)
  13. Iscariot macrumors 68030


    Aug 16, 2007
  14. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    I'd think seriously about San Sebastian, if I were in your shoes. The culture is quite different to that of the US - many Spaniards do not speak English - so you could immerse yourself in someplace recognisably different. However, the real reason I suggest this, is that modern Spanish design sensibility - and industrial design sensibility - is absolutely stunning, among the best in the world, and that is the field of study you wish to explore further. Just look at the work of Calatrava and various others whose reputation is global.
    Cheers and good luck
  15. northy124 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2007
    Go to España (Spain) you will love it and the parties OMG the parties.
  16. Berlepsch macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2007
    I never had problems using my mobile in Finland. Maybe it's because it is a Nokia. ;)

    They even sell the iPhone 3G nowadays in Finland. Perhaps you can convince him to upgrade?

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