DU tries to make studying abroad easy and something that all their students can do. While this is not entirely true, as some can still not afford it, a lot do study abroad. For those of you going through this, I’m sure some of you just immediately knew it was the right fit and began your applications right away. Maybe, the rest of you are like me and had to figure out if studying abroad was something that you could actually do. Now don’t get me wrong, studying abroad is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I had first heard about it when I was younger, and for a little while I thought of all the crazy places I could go. I’ve traveled with my parents a lot and with my school a few times. Those are my absolute favorite experiences, and memories that I will never forget.
When I got to college, my mental health declined and I needed help. I was prescribed with depression and anxiety medication, which have improved my mental health enormously. In terms of study abroad, however, it means I had to bring medication with me, which can make studying abroad much more difficult. For people with asthma, ADHD, depression, anxiety, bipolar, and many others who need to take medication abroad, this can be an issue. Each country around the world has its own laws surrounding drugs and medication. Some countries have made medications that people in the United States would use for their physical and mental health illegal. As someone who this affects, I had to think long and hard about study abroad, and what I wanted to do.
After spending many days reading people’s study abroad stories, listening to my friend’s recount their study abroad experiences, and looking into studying abroad, I decided that it was something that I wanted to do. There were very few negative experiences, and many have said it was the most amazing experience of their life. Even those that had a bad time said they learned a lot about themselves.
I moved onto going to study abroad advising sessions and learning what I would need to do. I learned from this that all study abroad courses counted for elective credit unless otherwise specified. I am getting two separate degrees at once and have a regimented list of classes to take. In order to get major, minor, or common curriculum credit you had to get different courses approved to count towards that. With deadlines that went along with applying and requesting course approvals, I had to start looking at schools fast.
I quickly realized that many schools did not have the wide variety of classes that DU offers, but instead specified courses for specific majors that they specialize in. Finding a university that had both business courses and STEM courses was something that proved to be difficult. Language barriers are another difficulty in finding schools. I needed to find schools in an English or Spanish speaking country, as those were the countries I would be able to speak and understand language in. I leaned toward Scotland or Ireland, because I have always wanted to visit those countries. With all of those restrictions in mind, I somehow found the perfect university for my needs.
Glasgow University in Scotland offers pre-med courses, business courses, as well as many others. As if by a miracle, all classes that I would need for the semester I would be there were approved, major specific courses. There were so many courses that were approved in excess as well that would also allow me to take some other courses that I would need to take at DU. After doing a little research, I learned that my medication would be accepted as long as I carried a doctor’s note specifying why, the dosage, and the significance. Overjoyed by this, I began writing my application and getting ready to start this adventure.
Going to study abroad meetings with study abroad advisers, taking quizzes, preparing to take a specific course, renewing my passport, and all the other requirements were breezed through with the excitement of being at a new university in a different country. I was so excited for what opportunities would await, and then I realized I needed to write my study abroad essays.
Writing my study abroad essays proved to be one of the most difficult things for me. Before the idea of going abroad was more a fantasy than reality. Having to actually think about going and writing about why I wanted to be there was a different thing. I consulted friends that had been there and asked about it to ensure it was right for me. After hearing about the location, including all the museums and historic areas and the weather, consisting of gray skies, rain, and snow I decided that I really would love to go, and I finished writing my essays.
When I finally hit submit on my study abroad application, I felt a sense of relief and a tingling excitement. I hadn’t felt this happy since realizing I could study abroad. The experience is finally becoming real for me; not just on paper, but an actual place. I know that I will have the most incredible time and I cannot wait for this experience. I know that it will be eye-opening and it will bring so much adventure.