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Meet Maya Rana (she/her)

Program and Location:

Summer, NC State Study Abroad Internship Program: Prague, Czech Republic


Biomedical Engineering

Why did you choose to study abroad?

Ever since I was little, I gained a love and passion to travel around the world. When I moved into college I heard about this program, and knew this was something I would want to accomplish. However when I was admitted, the program had come to a stop due the Covid pandemic. Once the world was opening back up, I jumped on the opportunity to travel and finally accomplished a dream.

What did you learn about yourself?

Being away for six weeks in a foreign country was a once in a lifetime experience. I don’t think I have ever felt like an adult until I went on this trip. I was able to explore and survive without the support of my family, and have learned that I wouldn’t need them in order to have a good time. I have gained so much confidence in myself and have experienced a huge shift in self growth as well as a self awareness in a work environment abroad.

What was one of your favorite parts of your program?

One of my favorite parts of my study abroad experience was getting to know the people in my specific program as well as being able to travel wherever on the weekends. I loved being able to travel with new people all around Europe while balancing it with the work life during the rest of the week. It was such an amazing experience to not only venture out in a different country with new friends but to also experience a work life abroad for the first time.

What was your experience with navigating COVID-19 abroad?

Navigating COVID-19 abroad was not an issue at all. The Czech Republic did an amazing job in keeping their country safe, and the process of getting in and out of the country was pretty smooth. It’s almost as if the pandemic had not existed which was an amazing feeling.

How did your study abroad experience prepare you for your future career?

The study abroad experience has prepared me immensely for my future career. My program in particular (Study Abroad: Internship Program), has helped me create a visual path for myself when looking into professions in my field. This program allows you to gain a guaranteed work experience abroad for 5 weeks. The job I had worked in allowed me to obtain a better understanding on what I want in a future profession and made me realize the environment I want to be around. The people I had worked with as well as others around the building we’re amazing in taking care of me and the other interns from State, and made us feel at home. Overall, this program has me very excited to join another company during the year in order to show others the valuable skills I have endured as well as to take a new step in my adulting life.

In what ways did your identity have an impact on your experience abroad?

My identity didn’t have an impact on my experience, since I didn’t experience any racism during my stay. I was treated equally by the people from Prague.

Where did you find support to navigate any challenges you faced abroad?

I found support in my advisor as well as the supervisors there on campus. They are always available and will come to you when in need. They are amazing people that I sadly had to say bye too.

Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?

Don’t be afraid to say something if you’re uncomfortable. The advisors at NC State will help ensure that you will feel safe and included. The people in other countries don’t have the same mannerisms as we do, so if you do feel any sort of discomfort, just inform someone.

What advice do you have to future study abroad students?

My advice would be not to be afraid. When first applying I was still on the verge of submitting my application. This is since I was afraid to be in a country all alone for the first time in my life. I wouldn’t know how I would adapt to this new change especially since it was far from my loved ones. However, submitting my application was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I have made so many long lasting memories with people I love and it was an experience of a life time. NC State Study Abroad does an amazing job in keeping their students informed on the country they are visiting as well as in making sure that you will be okay! If you have the opportunity to continue with this program, I would 100% tell you to go through with it, and you will not regret it.

Would you do it again?

I would a 100% do it again!

This post was originally published in Study Abroad News.