Studying Abroad Can Be Right For Anyone

As I write this, I’m sitting at Gate A17 of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, ready to embark on a huge journey. I’ll be spending my semester in Rome.

I hope by now you’ve realized that studying abroad somewhere amazing is a legitimate option for anyone entering college. I hope that you’re even considering it as a viable option for you.

A lot of people make excuses about why they can’t study abroad: “I don’t have time with my major” or “There’s no point” (also know as, “I’m kind of scared to be away from my family, friends, boy/girlfriend, country, etc., for that long”); “It’s too expensive.” However, if you start thinking about the possibility even before you start college, then the time will be there to both get a head start on all your requirements and get over your nerves.

(Also, “it’s too expensive” is the biggest misconception. Most study abroad programs are the same price or cheaper than a semester at your school.)

I was nervous. Heck, I am nervous. I’ve never traveled alone. I’ve never been out of the state of Illinois for more than a week at a time. I’ll miss my friends, family, girlfriend, country, etc. But I’ve got the opportunity of a lifetime. Think of all the things I will see, the relationships I will make and the memories that I’ll never forget.

What opportunities does studying abroad offer?

  • See how different cultures work.
  • See tons of countries that you’ve only read about. If you go to Europe, you can easily travel all throughout the European Union.
  • Learn a new language. (Of course, if you don’t want to learn a new language, there are still awesome options: the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand.)
  • Create relationships with people all over the world. My girlfriend’s parents have made friends in Hawaii, Australia and New Mexico; now, they go on awesome vacations for cheap by staying with their friends.
  • Gain independence. What’s a better way to really find out what you’re capable of than heading across the world by yourself?

Every person whom I’ve met who has studied abroad has loved it. I’ve never heard one person say that it wasn’t one of the best experiences of their life. The only people with negative things to say about it are those who haven’t gone, and they’re just trying to compensate for their own regrets and fears.

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John Edwards

John Edwards

John Edwards is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is pursuing a journalism degree. Currently studying abroad in Rome, he can usually be found hanging out and studying at his fraternity. He also enjoys running and spending time with family and friends.
John Edwards

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