Studying Abroad: Why You Should Do It
During my freshman year of college, studying abroad was the farthest thing from my mind. I knew it was an option for me, but I never specifically planned my academic career around it. Luckily I was able to fit in a semester abroad my junior year. I can honestly say studying abroad was the best choice I have made so far in my undergraduate career, and I think a lot of college students would agree with me.
There Comes a Time For a Break
By the time first semester junior year rolled around, I was feeling a bit burnt out. The stress of school began to take its toll, and I longed to just drop everything and take a few months off. But with senior year so close, I knew I had to stay on track to graduate in four years. I thought about it and I determined I was bored; bored with walking to the same places every day, talking to the same people and dealing with the same stressful situations. I wanted to keep learning, but I needed a new environment to do it in.
The decision to study abroad was not an easy one to make. Deciding where to go and how I was going to fit all the necessary classes in, in addition to the extra money I would need to pay, made applying for the program a strenuous process. I chose to spend three months in London, England to complete an internship as well as a full load of classes. As the date of my departure approached, the nervousness and excitement overwhelmed me. I challenged myself to be confident in my decision to fly half way around the world to explore new places and meet new people. When I got on the plane, optimistic thoughts about my new adventure filled my head.
Positive Culture Shock
When I arrived in London, it took some time to adjust to the culture differences, just like it would if I had gone anywhere else. But after a few weeks, London became my home away from home. I felt completely comfortable navigating my way through the city, attending classes with British students and working with co-workers at my internship. I was exposed to many new cultural aspects and developed new ways of understanding culture in the United States. My new experiences were not confined to London; I was able to travel all around Europe, visiting places I never thought I would see during my lifetime. Through my classes and internship, I learned the subtle yet critical differences between work culture in the U.S. and England. The projects I completed allowed me to learn more about London and England than I would have in a British History class back in Madison.
Change Your Life
My study abroad experience completely exceeded my expectations. Now that I am back in the States, I feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle my final year of college. It may sound cliché, but studying abroad really made a difference in my life. I no longer feel like I am stuck in one place, doing the same things every day. Spending a semester abroad is something I feel every college student should plan to do. Whether you need a change, are looking for a new experience or just want to get away, studying abroad is a great solution that allows you to grow academically and personally.
If you want to read about my experience abroad, check out my blog here.