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Pros and Cons of Studying Abroad

Nothing says “junior year” quite like talk of studying abroad. Pretty much every sophomore I know is currently debating where they should study abroad, what classes to take, or even if they should travel at all. Channeling my inner Rory Gilmore, here is a list of all the major pros and cons of studying abroad:

Pros:

Experience a different culture

By studying abroad, you will have the opportunity to spend an entire semester in a new area. While living there, you will be able to explore a completely new culture and take part in customs and traditions not practiced in the states.

Further develop your independence

Being on your own for an entire semester in a different country will force you to develop a new sense of independence that you might mot have had at BC. Your family, friends, and everyone else you tend to see everyday is now on a different continent, so you will find that you turn inwardly to get through tough times. This is just one of the reasons why so many people view studying abroad as a life changing experience.

Improve your language skills

As great as the foreign language classes are at BC, there is only so much you can learn from them. Complete immersion into a language will take your skills to a new level.

Take courses not available at BC

Sure, BC offers a fantastic variety of courses, but it can’t offer everything. Studying at a different university will give you the option to take a class that BC doesn’t offer.

Cons:

Away for an entire semester

As easy as it is to get caught up in the excitement of traveling, it is important to remember that a semester is a long time, especially if you are the type of person who visits home frequently. Some people truly succeed while being away for a semester, while others may benefit more from a four-week summer program.

Housing at BC gets more complicated

As if the housing lottery wasn’t stressful enough, if you study abroad you will have to deal with subletting (if you are living off campus). That means that you will either have to find people to switch off with or risk random placement.

You won’t see friends that are abroad the opposite semester

It will never be possible to go abroad the same semester as all of your friends, so there will be people you won’t see for an entire year!

Culture shock

People may hate on it, but the BC bubble is pretty real. The friendly, safe environment at BC does not extend everywhere, and that may take some time to adjust to the difference.

Even more on your own than on campus

Everyone knows that college is a time to embrace your independence. Your parents aren’t standing over your shoulder telling you to do your homework or when to go to sleep. However, when you go abroad, there is no way for you to get to them if you want to go home for a break, or if you are having a really bad week.

 

I hope this list helps you sort out all of your thoughts about studying abroad, and you will be able to make a decision soon!

 

 

Sources:

http://www.whitebird.org/travel/

http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/category/study-abroad/?_r=0

http://www.cnet.com/news/the-eiffel-tower-now-generates-its-own-power-with-new-wind-turbines/

Taylor is a Junior at Boston College, majoring in Economics and minoring in English. When not writing articles for Her Campus BC, she can be found at BCMUN meetings, volunteering in the Admissions office, or taking classes at the Plex.
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