Why I Chose to Study Abroad

Scroll down any of your social media feeds, and you’ll probably see at least three posts from people studying abroad. Maybe they’re at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, reenacting the Lizzie McGuire Movie scene at the Trevi Fountain in Rome, or maybe they’re taking one of those “totally original” leaning pictures at the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Seeing photos like that always made me jealous--not only of my friends being abroad, but also of their courage to spend an entire semester in a foreign country without family or familiar faces.

By the time I started this semester as a junior, I think I could physically feel my mom’s imaginary breath down my neck, encouraging me to apply for a semester abroad. I was nervous to send in an application but doing so didn’t mean I was committing, plus there was a little piece of me that was giddy when I pushed send.

I got my acceptance email a couple weeks later and my first feeling was of excitement. It was getting real!

Right after the initial excitement came the anxiety. Thoughts about being gone for so long, being so far away, and how it would affect my relationships with friends were serious worries that crossed my mind. As silly as it is, FOMO (fear of missing out) is actually a huge deal when you’re gone for four months and in completely different time zones.

I had been abroad once, for two weeks in high school when I went to France with my French class. I had the time of my life, and as I started remembering how much fun I had, the excitement came flooding back. It was so fascinating to learn about a different culture, and not to mention, the food was unlike anything else. Even the McDonald’s was better!

The specific program that I’ve been recently accepted to is in London, and it even matches you up with an internship. It sounded too good to be true. My mom convinced me that studying abroad, let alone doing an internship in a foreign country, would set me apart from others when applying to a job after college. Not to mention, the internship would allow me to network with people who could definitely help me out professionally later in life.

The idea of going was growing on me, but the final hurdle I had to consider was the price. Most, if not all study abroad programs, are significantly more expensive than your regular tuition. There are programs that go through the U that your financial aid can apply to, but you can’t get around costs such as your plane tickets, food, housing and travelling/exploring money. My program is fortunately through the U, so I got my regular aid, and I’m fortunate enough to have the financial support of my parents to make this possible.

I had already been accepted, had been encouraged by all the people close to me, and couldn’t help thinking that I would regret it if I stayed home, so I bit the bullet and confirmed my place in the program. I now have exactly 60 days until I leave for four months, and although I have some unavoidable anxiety about being gone and alone in another country, I can’t help but think about how much fun I’m going to have, and, although cliché, how it’ll change my life.