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Study Abroad: Spring vs. Fall

Thinking about studying abroad, but not sure when to do it?  Check out what HC BC writers Diana Sanborn (who went in the spring) and Carly Christensen (who went in the fall) say about when’s the best time to study abroad!

Nine Reasons to Study Abroad in the Spring

(Disclaimer: I studied abroad in Italy so the majority of these will be geared towards Europe…but to those of you who are considering studying abroad on a different continent, some of these can still apply to you!)

1.  You don’t miss football season.  We might not be the best team in the league but tailgating and football games are a part of BC culture so you definitely don’t want to miss out.  GO EAGLES!

2.  You get to be in Boston for fall.  Fall in Boston is one of my favorite parts of the academic year.  When the leaves start to change colors, campus becomes even more beautiful (who even knew that was possible) and along with the changing colors comes lots of fun fall activities!  Some favorites are apple picking, pumpkin picking, and making leave piles to jump in (because let’s be honest, you never get too old for that).

 

3.  You miss the harsh Boston winter.  I’m sure you all remember Nemo back in February…sure it was fun to have school canceled and play in the snow for an entire day but who wants to shovel 40 inches of snow?  Or deal with that kind of weather for a couple of months?  No one.

4.  Carnevale in Venice.  For those of you who haven’t heard of Carnevale, it is an annual festival that takes place before Lent starts.  It is the most touristy time of the year in Venice and thousands of people go to celebrate and dress up in elaborate costumes and masks.  There a lot of really cool events including concerts and costume parties!

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5.  St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin.  St. Patrick’s Day is certainly a popular holiday here in Boston.  With the parade in South Boston and tons of darties on and off campus, it’s a springtime favorite.  However, it doesn’t get much better than celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin.  There are events all weekend long, the Temple Bar area is a ton of fun, and best of all, there are a lot of cute Irish boys!

6.  Spring break abroad. Spring break abroad is a great time to knock out some of the places on your abroad bucket list that are near each other!  For my spring break abroad, I went to Amsterdam, Paris, and the French Riviera but some other popular destinations include the UK and Ireland, the Eastern loop (Prague, Budapest, Berlin), or Greek island hopping.  Some abroad programs in the fall don’t have a spring break equivalent.

7.  The Vatican during Easter.  If you’re Catholic, there’s nothing cooler than celebrating Easter mass with the pope at the Vatican.  However, even if you’re not Catholic, it’s still pretty cool.  People from all over the world make the pilgrimage to Rome for Easter and you could be one of them!

8.  Springtime in Paris. As Audrey Hepburn said, “Paris is always a good idea” and it’s even a better idea in the spring!  Springtime is Paris is magical…flowers are just starting to bloom and there’s a feeling of love in the air.

9.  You can extend your time abroad and TRAVEL!  The best part of studying abroad in the spring (in my humble opinion) is that you can push your flight back after your program ends and travel!  Most study abroad programs (except some of the internal programs in Spain) end rather early so even if you have a summer job or internship, you can still stick around a little longer before coming back.  It’s a lot harder to do that in the fall because of the holidays.

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Five Reasons to Study Abroad in the Fall

Why did I choose to go abroad in the fall?  That’s when my friends were doing it.  It was completely logical in my head to study abroad when my friends were so we would overlap at BC.  But I ended up loving being abroad in the fall, and here’s why.

1. Coming back from summer and going right to Europe made it feel like an extra long summer vacation.  I definitely didn’t mind going from spending all my days at the beach to gallivanting around different European towns.  It ended up feeling like a 7-month summer vacation.

2. Most of your time in Europe is still summery and warm.  When I got to Sevilla, it was over 100 degrees, which was a little much, but I didn’t even have to bring a winter coat.  It was definitely different from Boston winters.  There were only a few trips in the north of Europe towards the end of my semester where weather was an issue.

3. Coming back from abroad and having it be Christmastime gives you something to be excited about.  I was so sad coming back from study abroad, but when I landed to Boston and we went to dinner in the North End, it was all decorated for Christmas!  I had a new thing to be excited about: no work, Christmas, and spending quality time with my family.

4. All the fun BC holidays take place in the spring.  Marathon Monday, Modstock, and St. Patrick’s Day are all spring holidays.  Being here for spring semester allowed to me to enjoy all these fun BC holidays, as well as a long Easter break.

5. I could easily apply to internships.  When I got back to BC, not only did I have to get back into real schoolwork, but also I had to find a summer internship.  Applying to internships from Boston and being able to go interview for them in person made me much less stressed about my summer plans.

Now that you’ve heard the best reasons to go abroad each semester, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for you!  No matter when you go, studying abroad will be one of the best experiences of your life, so if you have the opportunity to go, take it!

 

Photo Sources:

Diana Sanborn

Caroline Kohler

Carly Christensen

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