Thinking about studying abroad? Here’s the only question you need to ask yourself: Why not? College is a culmination of experiences that help you decide what you want to do with the rest of your life. Studying abroad literally broadens your options. You will make connections with people and places that may define where you choose to live, or even who you choose to be after you graduate. It is a unique opportunity, unlike any you will ever have again. Don’t waste it!
You'll gain new perspectives. Your job as a college student is to say yes to as many experiences as possible. As a Penn student, a semester abroad costs the same as a semester on campus, and that semester abroad will gain you the kind of exposure to the world you can’t get from a classroom. You will meet people that you would almost certainly never meet otherwise, and these relationships have the potential to be lasting. You will take classes with students and professors that do not consider many things the same way you do, and will change or inform your worldview. You get to live in a part of the world you’ve probably never been. Keep in mind that visiting and living in a place are two entirely different things. The London that you visited for a week with your family will not be the London that you live in for four months.
It’s also a good career move. Granted, you probably have no idea right now what your career will be, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t building a foundation for it now. Whatever it is you are studying, doing so abroad allows you to see how that field is studied in other parts of the world. You will meet future professionals and make connections that may prove useful later on. Studying abroad also looks great on a resume and gives you something interesting to talk about with prospective employers. You will learn academically, but you will also gain cultural appreciation that will allow you to network readily with more people.
It will be unbelievably fun. You will spend your days in class, and your nights exploring. You will probably connect with Penn students that you’d never even met, and forge long lasting friendships. You may even discover a passion that you want to pursue. You will learn to be completely independent, to become comfortable relying on yourself. You’ll have the time of your life experiencing the theater, food, dance, art, and music of another country, and you’ll come back incredulous that you ever considered not studying abroad.
Image courtesy of: JLL.