As a graduate student studying abroad I think I have had a very different experience than I would have as an undergraduate. Study abroad for nontraditional students is just not that common, especially at my school. I have to say that there were a lot of unknowns before I left. Even after I arrived there were days in which I was not sure that a year abroad as a graduate student was the best idea. I am happy that I decided to go through with my studies here in Nicaragua, my experiences are giving me new perspectives on my field every day. For the rest of this post I would like to give future graduate students thinking of study abroad some advice.
First and most importantly, make sure your work abroad will be beneficial to your program at home. It can be especially hard for graduate students to get credit for all the courses they want to take abroad. In my case, I am only receiving credit from my home institution for half of my courses but I am receiving a postgrad certificate in my field from my host institution. Second, do not think because you are a more mature student that you will not experience home sickness and culture shock. Home sickness and culture shock happen to all of us and both get better once you make friends and find people you can talk to about these things. Also do not be afraid to reach out to your fellow international students, even if they are undergraduates. You are all in the same situation more or less and they will be more helpful than you may realize. Lastly do not lose sight of why you are studying abroad, if it is to supplement your research then start working on it right away but do not forget to have a social life just as at home. Studying abroad is one of the best ways to compliment your graduate education. Have fun exploring another country and make yourself more employable while you are at it! It is worth it.