Why J-Term is the Perfect Time to Study Abroad

Most people cringe at the idea of taking a class over J-term. Why spend winter break studying and doing homework when you could be hanging out with friends from home and watching Netflix all day? What if that class didn’t take place on campus or online though? Imagine spending J-term in a country halfway across the world while not only having the time of your life, but also earning credits.

This past January I spent two amazing weeks in London, exploring and learning about the city while taking a travel writing class. Here are five reasons why everyone should take advantage of studying abroad over J-term:

1. You earn 4 credits towards your degree.

How else can you earn the credits of a full class in only a couple of weeks? You can’t. Taking a class over J-term is the only way to do this, at least that I know of. Say you fail a class and need to retake it but don’t want to spend a whole other semester struggling through it. Take a J-term class. Say there’s a class that won’t fit into your regular schedule. Take a J-term class. Even if it’s not done abroad, this is still a pretty good deal.

2. You meet amazing people.

The people you meet while studying abroad will leave you with some really amazing stories. Some are funny, some are touching, and some are just weird. Either way, the people you meet while studying abroad will help to shape your experience. Half of what makes a place is the people that live there. Learn about the people and you learn about the place. Most people will also teach you something about yourself as well.

3. It doesn’t feel like class.

While in London I was taking a course and although I learned a lot, it didn’t feel like class. Although there was class time five days a week, the biggest learning experience came from exploring the city. J-term classes are structured so that the place reflects the course content. I explored London and could write about anything I wanted – easy. A theater class from UNH spent their time in London seeing amazing plays and exploring interesting places related to theater. It’s about getting out and seeing everything first hand. This is where the true learning experience comes in.

4. The price isn’t as bad as it seems.

I’ll admit that it really hurt to hit the confirmation button when buying my plane ticket. It also felt good though. It meant that I was actually doing it. As for the price of the course, that’s also pricey but it’s definitely doable if you’re determined. I began saving for the trip the second that I heard about it back in April and I worked hard to put money away. It sucked getting there, but I don’t regret a second of all those extra hours I worked this summer. Also, the price covered the credits, housing, day trips, going to the theater, and so much more. Doing the trip on your own, without the class, could easily cost just as much depending on where you stayed and what you did.

5. It’s the perfect length of time.

Two weeks in London sounds like a good amount of time if you’re going for a vacation. It’s also a good amount of time for a class though. I think that a whole semester would have been a bit much for me seeing as I had never traveled before. Going to a different country is kind of overwhelming and as much as I loved London, I don’t think I could have been there for a few months. Two weeks was perfect though. I got to see all the big sites, some of the lesser known things, and I had the most incredible experience. It was the perfect taste of a new place and culture.