5 Real Facts to Consider When Choosing to Study Abroad

 

1. Can you afford it?

Let’s be real, college alone is expensive enough but studying abroad can be way more expensive. I have heard counselors go on about how studying in Europe can be less expensive than the United States, but in my case, this was not true. Tuition and room and board were much more expensive for myself living in Italy than they were living at Illinois State. Plus, the costs of traveling on the weekends and going out around your new city can really add up. Get yourself prepared for the amount of money you realistically will be spending before you indulge in the new culture. Save up summer money and get a job on campus the semester before you go. Knowing you are financially okay while traveling saves a lot of stress.

2. Are you ready to be away for that long?

Personally, I chose to study abroad for a whole semester. That’s 4 months which does not sound that long but trust me some days you just want to be back home. I went abroad alone and I’m not going to lie some days were very difficult. My campus was not a regular college town campus; it was a city. Meeting other students can be very difficult when you don’t live near each other. Some days you will find yourself lonely and the time difference does not do much help. Are you prepared to be with just yourself in a new country?

3. Does your schedule allow it?

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE look into your academic schedule before you leave. This will save you so much time while you are away. Don’t just have your counselor look at it because trust me, they can be wrong and then you will end up having to take summer school like I did. Make sure that you have enough credits to graduate on time if you are planning on doing that.

4. Are confident enough to travel alone?

Traveling alone can be daunting. Especially, traveling to a new city in a new country as a young woman by yourself. It can honestly be scary. Women are treated differently in different cultures. Make sure that you research the culture you are entering and be prepared to be in uncomfortable situations. Most of the people you encounter will be pleasant and you won’t even blink an eye, but other times not so much. If I had researched the culture I was entering, I would have felt much more confident in certain situations and not as thrown off.

5. Are you ready for one of the best adventures of your life?

Trust me, living in a new country is amazing. It is a special time in your life that you will never forget. Discovering new cities in far-off countries and growing as a person changes you. I’m not going to say that I completely changed from my experience abroad, but it sure has made me more grateful for my life at home and the experiences I have been blessed to have. So, why not study abroad? Take a chance on yourself. Have a life-changing experience and go live in a new country while you’re young. Just be prepared for the adventure and have an amazing trip!