Setting Goals: 10 Questions to Help You Raise Your Own Bar When You Study Abroad

Sep 4, 2013 10:21:02 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

Words by guest blogger Fritha Vincent, a performance coach and fundraiser who runs a company called Believe YOU can make a difference and occasionally works with CAPA London students.

CAPA International Education CEO John Christian said in a CAPA World interview: "It’s students who raise their own bar...(who) really reflect on what’s happening both internationally and with themselves that will benefit most."

Fritha tells us how to raise our own bar during a study abroad experience. The photo on the left shows Fritha with CAPA's CEO John Christian

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My name is Fritha Vincent, I am a performance coach supporting people to listen to their inner voice. Over the last year I have been lucky enough to coach some CAPA students, staff and lecturers. On one occasion I heard some students tell stories about their work placements in charities. I remember one student in particular describing a life changing experience working with troubled young people. She discovered how fulfilled she felt working in the role of helper and decided to pursue a completely different career. What will you discover about yourself while you're studying abroad?

CAPA CEO, John Christian, challenges you to "raise your own bar" during your time overseas. It is a great challenge and if achieved you could return from your CAPA experience transformed. If you want to explore what raising the bar means for you, work with me through 10 questions below. Together we can start to listen to your inner voice and set goals around its needs. Use these goals to activate your time overseas with experiences that change you inside and out.

Pen and Notebook
Photo: Pen and notebook by Thana Thaweeskulchai

Before you start answering the questions, go and find yourself a quiet place to sit. Take a pad and a pen you like to write with. Light a candle if you like or play some soft music. Spend a minute writing down all the things that are buzzing around your head; writing them down will silence them. Now close your eyes for a few minutes and just enjoy being peaceful.

Read one question at a time and let your answers flow out of the pen. Don't over think the answer, write as fast as you can and write down whatever comes into your head. This is your time to tell yourself the truth; don't waste it.

Question mark, Ipswich, 21 January 2012
Photo: Question mark by ed_needs_a_bicycle

Question 1. What does 'raising the bar' mean to you?

Question 2. If you had to play one piece of music as the background theme to your CAPA experience, what would it be?

Question 3. When this is all over and you are return home, who are you most looking forward to telling about experiences overseas and what are you going to tell them?

Question 4. During your time away what would you most like to discover about your skills and abilities?

Question 5: Who would you most like to meet and what do you want them to give you?

Question 6: Think of your special qualities and gifts, which ones do you want to give away during your time away? What ideas do you have to give them away?

Question 7: What discoveries would you like to make about yourself and do you need to do to make these discoveries happen?

Question 8: Who do you feel is responsible for the impact this trip will have on your as a person?

Question 9: What would you need to do to completely blow your mind on this trip?

Question 10: You are at the airport about to fly home, what one piece of advice would you like to give yourself?

Challenge accepted
Photo: Challenge accepted by Andreina Schoeberlein

Now go back and look at your answers. Pull out all the options you have come up with to do things that will help drive the discoveries and changes you want to see. Consider the options. Which ones do you feel most committed to doing during your time away? Identify the ones that REALLY challenge you over the ones you are comfortable with. Choose the options you feel most committed too. For each option you commit to, ask yourself the following questions to ensure you turn it into a goal.

  1. What is it I want to do?
  2. How am I going to know that I have got there?
  3. What will it give me by achieving it and how will things be different from now?
  4. When do I want to have achieved it by?

Write down the answers so a list of goals can emerge. All goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound. Double check your goals. Keep your list safe and refer back to it regularly.

Enjoy achieving your goals and have a look at the CAPA World post "Setting Personal Goals for Your Study Abroad Experience" for more ideas.

Topics: International Education, Practical Study Abroad Advice