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.

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Caitlin Furin

Caitlin Furin

Caitlin Furin is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in journalism and strategic communication. With an interest in social media, she can often be found exploring the Facebook walls, Twitter feeds and Pinterest profiles of big brands. Her laptop and iPhone never leave her side. Outside of school and work, Caitlin can be found enjoying a good TV show or two and spending time with her friends and family.
Caitlin Furin

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