Where's the Study in Study Abroad?

Where’s the study in study abroad? 

Traveling outside of the country is so exciting until you come back to reality and remember school is about to start. Studying abroad requires so much patience and adjusting during the first few weeks in a new environment. I remember freshman year I hated school, until I found my place, but going to a European university is so different than college in the States.   

Last Monday was my first official day of classes, but this week was my first full week of classes after the add/drop period. Just like in Virginia, Barcelona starts school later because of the tourist season and starts after the local holiday. In comparison to starting school around Labor Day, September 11th is the national day of Catalonia. During that day over a million people flooded the streets of Barcelona celebrating their Catalonian nationality. 


One major difference between American college and Spanish College is that the school week is Monday through Thursday. Yes! Three day weekends every weekend. On the calendar in the States the week begins with Sunday, but most European countries start on Mondays. 

Another major difference is that diversity is measured completely different. With the integration of the European Union students are easily able to study in another country through the Erasmus program. My classes are filled with Asians, Egyptians, Americans, Canadians, Germans.

Lastly, school is not about money. In the United States the phenomenon about the achievement gap simply roots from the socioeconomic class a student comes from. In most countries in Europe college is relatively cheap or even sometimes free. I mean not 4 for $4 Wendy’s cheap, but less than Hampton’s Tuition of $40,000 a year. There are no access codes or standardized testing, rather, participation and understanding is measured higher in classes.