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4 Reasons to Start Planning your Summer Study Abroad

Studying abroad is probably one of the best experiences you can have during your college career. It lets you experience a new culture, meet new people, try new food, and get ahead in school at the same time. After spending my summer abroad on the European Politics summer program and experiencing cuisines, languages, and nightlife of so many different cultures, I can definitely say that studying abroad was the best way that I could have spent my summer.

Even though the new school year has just started and it feels like next summer isn’t anywhere in the near future, the truth is that now is the best time to start planning next summer. As your work begins to pile up, you’ll have the trip of a lifetime to think about while sitting in the library attempting to get some work done. Not convinced yet? Here are the top four reasons to go spend your summer studying on the other side of the world – as if immersing yourself in another culture wasn’t enough of one.

1. See the World (Outside of your Textbook)

If there’s any time to travel the world, it’s now. As scary as it is, soon enough you’ll be a real adult and working at a real job (doing real people things!) and that’ll make it a lot harder to find the time and money to travel. While it may be nice to learn about different cultures and experiences in our classes here at Emory, traveling abroad gives you the chance to see it all in action. Not only do summer study abroad programs arrange most of the travel logistics for you, (which can be super stressful if you have to plan them yourself) they also arrange various cultural activities for you to do while you are abroad.

 

2. New Food

No matter where in the world you study, there will be so much new food to try. Visiting Italy? Eat some homemade pasta. (And Instagram it of course!) Staying in England? Be basic and sit down for tea. Before you leave for your trip, be sure to look up all the different kinds of food that are originally from the place you will be staying. Also, be open to trying as many different things as possible—even if the dish sounds or looks a little weird. It may not end up being your favorite food, but it’ll still leave you with a fun fact to share during icebreakers for the rest of your life. How many people can say they’ve tried barnacle, am I right?

 

3. Get Ahead in School

 

The courses you take during a summer program count towards your degree and allow you to get ahead. The difficulty of your classes will depend on the professor, but most professors understand that the learning experience goes beyond the classroom as you spend time exploring your new surroundings. Also, there is nothing cooler than studying subjects in a place where you can experience it firsthand—whether you’re speaking Spanish with native Argentinians, learning about Art History in Greece, or studying biology in Cape Town, you’ll really be able to put your new skills and knowledge to work. If nothing else, you can finally find a use for those endless vocabulary lists you’ve been memorizing since middle school besides just regurgitating words on a 20-minute quiz.

 

4. Make New Friends

Even though Emory is on the smaller side when it comes to school size, we often don’t realize that there are so many people here that we have yet to meet; it’s pretty likely that there will be people on your program that you have never met before. (Or that you may never have met at all!) By the end of the program, after being with the same people 24/7 for several weeks, the people you meet on your study abroad program could end up becoming some of your closest friends when you head back to school in the fall.

Studying abroad is the best of both worlds—it gives you the opportunity to both enjoy and explore another culture while still learning and earning credits. Get planning!

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