7 Reasons You Should Study Abroad

My semester in Ireland was the best five months of my college experience by far. I miss my apartment in the city center and my favorite band playing live music every Thursday night. I can’t wait to go back and visit—soon! Here are 7 reasons I think you should take the risk and study abroad.

1. You learn so much about yourself

In my five months abroad, I learned more about myself than I could have ever imagined. I took more risks than I would ever have expected myself to. I pushed myself so far out of my comfort zone and I am so happy I did. I learned that I am 110% an extrovert; I need people around me. Living alone for a while was one of the most challenging things I have ever done. I learned I need my friends and church community around me in order to remain strong in my faith. I learned how hard but rewarding it is to keep in contact with those that mean the most to you. I learned how much I depend on my mom when things get tough.

2. You meet new people

I was blessed in the fact that I met so many incredible people in all the places I traveled to. I met two older Irish men who I chatted with for hours about their family and their lives in Ireland. I met a girl from Ukraine who decided to go on a solo trip around the world. I met a woman from Duluth(!) who I shared a meal and a pint with. I met a couple who had sold all their belongings and decided to spend their retirement living in an RV in different European countries. I met my favorite bartender Dave who always knew what to pour me.

3. You can travel everywhere and anywhere

I was lucky enough to be able to travel to 9 different countries during my time abroad. Each country was unique and had something completely different to offer. Traveling was one of my favorite parts of my semester abroad and I think it is reason enough to study in a different country.4. You can take a break

Not that I was stressed or unhappy, but I took my time abroad as a much-needed break. You control who you keep in touch with, how rigorous your class load will be, and who you want to befriend. I didn’t know a single person when I landed in Ireland, which was both terrifying and freeing at the same time. It’s just like freshman year of college in that you could decide to be a completely different person if you wanted to.

5. Food, Food, and Drinks

From pasta in Italy to cheese in The Netherlands, I tasted so many new and delicious foods. While Ireland is not necessarily known for their delicious foods, I got to try all of the different restaurants I lived near. I ate Pad Thai and Mexican food more often than I would care to say. Ireland may not be known for their food, but they are known for their drink. Which is fine by me. Orchard Thieves hard cider is the most delicious thing I have tasted to this day. 10/10 would recommend.

6. When else will you be able to do it so affordably?

Through the program I chose, my tuition abroad was cheaper than it was at my home college. I had enough frequent flier miles that I didn’t have to pay for my plane ticket. I had been saving up to study abroad since I was a sophomore in high school because I didn’t want to have to worry about money. When traveling, I flew RyanAir and stayed in hostels when I could. I saved money on food by buying a lot of my meals at grocery stores instead of at restaurants. I always tried to find the balance between spending and saving.

7. It’s hard as hell.

This might sound like a reason to not go but oh my goodness, looking back now I feel like a badass who can do anything. From going to the pub by myself and meeting new people every night to navigating public transportation in every country I went to, I had to just suck it up and figure it out. I had to travel by myself to a lot of places and stay in hotels alone which was absolutely terrifying. (My parents definitely received many, many phone calls where they had to calm me down). Now that I am back home, I would give anything to go relive all of those scary scenarios over again.

Studying abroad brought me so much joy and gave me so many memories. I miss it every single day and I tell everyone I know that spending a semester in a different country is something you could never regret. DO IT!