Is your Spanish not sharp enough for Spain? Are you not itching for the Barcelona club scene or a picture in one of those red phone booths in London? Never fear, collegiettes—you can still cure your case of wanderlust by spending a semester away from campus in a different city in the United States.
Sometimes spending a semester in a different city can be the perfect way to get some space from your campus, some real-world experience and a new perspective when you get back to school. But you don’t have to leave the country—collegiettes can have amazing experiences away from their schools at cities in the U.S.! Whether you want to make a change on Capitol Hill or make a film in Los Angeles, studying “abroad” in a different part of the U.S. can be the perfect addition to your college career. Still on the fence? We’ve found some awesome benefits to staying in the States during your semester away from school.
1. You have lots of options
If you think that exploring a city in the U.S. would be way more exciting and rewarding than studying abroad right now, you could join the ranks of many collegiettes who thought the same thing! For example, if you’re a collegiette who’s passionate about American politics, spending a quarter in Australia may not be the best choice for you. Instead, you could attend another program, like Stanford in Washington, which helps place students in full-time internships in D.C. All students live in a house together and take classes at night.
Another such program, Marist In Manhattan allows students to live together in New York while completing internships. Whether you’re into fashion, media, publishing or advertising, a program like this one can help advance your career and give you a small bite of the Big Apple.
Programs in the U.S. typically provide housing and will help you find an internship in your chosen city. They’re a great way to maintain some independence while still receiving the benefits of being in college. Anyone from any major can find a program that they love—just as there’s no typical study abroad student, there’s no typical student who studies away from school in the U.S.!
2. You can build your resumé
For collegiettes who want great networking opportunities, studying away in the U.S. is an excellent choice. While many study abroad programs simply let you take classes at a foreign university, lots of programs in the U.S. will allow you to do an internship in a city that will help you immensely in the future.
Nicole Knoebel, a senior at Marist College who participated in the Marist In Manhattan program, did an internship with Seventeen while taking online classes. “I made amazing connections in the U.S. that I can use after I graduate,” she says. “I don’t think I’d have that right now if I went abroad.”
If you’re concerned about finding a job after graduation or you think your resume could use a little sprucing up, exploring a new city and completing a career-oriented internship could be the smart choice for you, too.
3. It’s easier to keep in touch with friends
One concern for collegiettes studying abroad is the distance from home and the difficulty of communicating with loved ones. With a program in the U.S., you can get the experience of going abroad—living more independently and exploring a new city—without having to sacrifice communication with your loved ones. In addition, visiting your college or keeping in touch with your SO can be way easier when you have reliable cell phone service and Wi-Fi and you don’t have an ocean to cross.
Jen Morgan, a junior at Messiah College who studied in Philadelphia for a semester, says, “If you do meet really amazing friends, it’s a little easier to see them once your program is over, since even though you’re in different parts of the U.S., you’re all still in America, so no need to worry about international travel for visits.”
Whether you want to go home for a weekend every once in a while to see your friends or visit the new friends you’re making during your program in the future, studying in the U.S. can make things way easier!
4. It won’t break the bank
Craving a new adventure that won’t cause you to cringe when you see your bank account? Staying in the U.S. won’t cost you as much money as going to Europe would. You don’t have to worry about exchange rates or international flights—if you plan ahead, you can manage your costs very effectively.
“As expensive as NYC is, it was still way cheaper than going to Europe,” Nicole says. “I loved exploring the entire island and being able to bounce around to the other boroughs, especially Brooklyn, as well.”
It’s definitely easier to get an idea for fair prices and good deals when you’re dealing with your native currency. While your friends may be spending too much at cafes and boutiques in Europe, you can keep saving up for your dream apartment of the future.
5. Logistics aren’t as complicated
While studying abroad can sometimes require a student visa, an expensive new plan for your cell phone and a stressful currency exchange, studying in the U.S. doesn’t require much more than moving into a new apartment and enrolling in classes or internships. You’re already moving to a new city and adjusting to a totally new environment—you don’t need to add the restrictions of getting to a foreign country to the mix to make your adventure exciting!
This also makes it easy to visit once your program is over. “I think the best thing is that I fell in love with a city that I can still visit whenever I want,” Nicole says. “If I became obsessed with a European city, there’s a chance I’d never be able to go back. But now, I can always visit NYC and have the advantage of knowing how to navigate the city and have so many favorite spots.”
6. It’s still an adventure!
You don’t have to be abroad to experience an incredible adventure away from your college. Many collegiettes who study away in the U.S. still feel as if they’ve experienced something just as good as traveling to another country—or maybe something even better!
“I love that I can explore and learn in a new area of the country, since even though you’re still in America, you’re in a new place and able to learn so much about a new place,” Jen says. “You also meet tons of new friends and have new experiences too, just like a study abroad program.”
Morgan Dux, a senior at Juniata College, studied in Washington, D.C., for a semester. “I was able to experience living in a large city (which was a big change for me and something I wanted to accomplish), build my network and forge relationships with students from all over the world,” she says.
Whether you want to stay close to your family, you’re dreaming of an internship in NYC or you’re waiting until after you graduate to travel abroad, studying in the U.S. can be an amazing option for collegiettes who are seeking a new adventure away from school.