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Abigail Barbu

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: English major, philosophy minor
Program: University of Oslo
Location: Oslo, Norway
Term: Fall 2022


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I've only ever completed education in North Carolina, and I felt like studying abroad would expand my horizons, both in terms of education and personal growth. I chose my program because I wanted to learn more about Norway and UiO offered classes that could transfer for credits towards my major.


What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that I am much more capable than I thought. Study abroad taught me how to navigate a different country where I didn't know the language nor the layout, and I'm so grateful to have had this experience!


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
There are so many good memories-- it's hard to choose just one! I auditioned for and participated in a play while I was here, and it was so much fun to be able to perform people from Norway! They gave me a lot of advice about places to visit and things to do while I'm here. Getting involved was a super cool way to learn more about Norwegian culture and people.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Stay true to yourself! Yes, it is important to bush your boundaries and try new things, but if you truly feel uncomfortable or unsafe, it is more than okay to back out of things and say no. Remember to put yourself and your safety first!


How do you identify?


Could you share any experiences where your identity played a role in your time abroad?
Being a child of immigrant parents abroad was very interesting because I got a lot of questions about my parents, my first language, and how my parents' culture mixed with US culture! I felt comfortable being a queer student abroad, as Oslo is a very open-minded city and thus most of the people around me were respectful of my identity!


Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
This is kind of similar to the "stay true to yourself" advice from earlier, but don't be afraid to be proud of who you are! Of course, be sure to stay safe, and if you feel as though sharing your identity with others is not the best choice to make, don't feel pressured to do so! 🙂


If you faced any challenges abroad, where could you turn to get the support you needed?
Personally, I always knew I could reach out to friends, family, or a mental health professional from back home, but I felt comforted by the fact that UNC CAPS or a study abroad advisor were resources I could access as well! The IES Social Identity Resource page was also something I knew I could peruse if I felt the need.