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Life > Experiences

Why I Forced Myself to Include a Study Abroad Experience during College

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northeastern chapter.

By Nicolina Farmer

“I am a health sciences major with a psychology and Spanish double minor, on a pre-physician assistant, track hoping to graduate in four years with two co-op experiences and no summer classes.” 

This is what I told my academic advisor at our first meeting and I swear I have never been looked at with more disbelief and hesitation in my life. I have always been ambitious, and when I set goals, you best believe that I will achieve them. 

After my first co-op, however, everything changed. I worked as a clinical assistant at Boston Children’s Hospital on the perioperative/surgical floor helping in pre-op, post-op recovery, and the family liaison area. I absolutely loved my job. I fell in love with the blue-scrubbed atmosphere on Longwood, the fiery passion within my unit, the adorable patients whose worries I soothed and whose smiles I brought back. I adored every minute of my job because I knew my work was impactful. From the very first week of my orientation, I got that warm-fuzzy feeling deep within that told me THIS is what I want to do with the rest of my life.

This realization made me redefine the purpose of doing a second co-op in my academic plan. I felt confident about my career path, and I didn’t think I needed another opportunity to work on figuring that out. Everyone’s path is different, but for me, this made the most sense. 

From there I started contemplating what I would do instead of a second co-op, and the idea of studying abroad began frequently circulating through my mind. I had always been interested in doing a study abroad program, but from the get-go, I assumed it would be impossible to fit into my schedule. Then again, what if it was? 

Another hesitation I had about studying abroad was wondering if I was strong enough to do it. I’ve never enjoyed being too far from family, and I hate being alone. This would be a brand new country, different from everything I’ve ever known and a huge life-style change. I went back and forth with it for some time, but ultimately, I decided I had to do it. I decided I need to seize every opportunity and make the most of the time I have here at Northeastern because if I didn’t do this now, I never would. As a future physician’s assistant, I know that I will be working for the rest of my life, so I can’t think of a better time to push myself outside of my comfort zone and embark on this global journey. 

Now, as I get ready to submit my application, I am filled with a mix of anxiety and excitement, but I know I am making the right choice. I cannot wait to study abroad, see the world, experience different cultures, get to know new people and learn more about myself along the way. 

This is my story. What will yours be?

Nicolina Farmer

Northeastern '24

Nicolina is a student at Northeastern studying Health Sciences with a double minor in Psychology and Spanish. In her free time she loves to try new restaurants, pet cute dogs, make new friends, and cheer on other women in STEM. Despite her major, she'll always be a writer at heart. Thanks for reading!