Movies, books, and pop culture have given “studying abroad” a pretty negative connotation. I know when I told my parents that I wanted to live in Europe for five months, they laughed in my face. After a lot of research and planning however, I convinced them that it was an opportunity of a lifetime…and it was!
If you’ve researched, booked and are definitely going abroad next semester, I know exactly how you feel right now. You’re looking forward to your trip, but you may have some hesitations. I know that a huge road block in many students’ minds about leaving campus to go abroad next semester is the “FOMO” phenomenon, also known as the “Fear of Missing Out.” With housing registration coming up, it can be upsetting to watch your friends secure a double in Polo knowing that you won’t be living there with them.
The feeling of being left out combined with sending in deposits, applying for Visas and booking plane tickets is definitely stressful. But this is the one and only opportunity you will have to live, study, and travel in a foreign country all at the same time! Who cares if you miss that one fraternity party, football game, or your best friend’s birthday? There are always more parties, games, and birthdays.
On top of all this, you may be starting to stress about money. Before I left for London last year, my professor gave me a piece of advice that I carried with me throughout my time in the UK. He said, “Never let money stop you from doing anything. Max out your credit cards, be in debt to your parents, do whatever it takes, but do not let that be an excuse for not experiencing something that can change your life.” And that is exactly what I did. I took loans out from my parents here and there, decided to eat cereal and toast for a few extra meals and before I knew it I could take the one extra trip to Scotland, where I might add I met a Prince. No, he did not propose to me on the spot, but that is an experience I could have missed because I was too nervous about staying in budget.
Do not let money or missing school activities deter you from having the time of your life. Get excited for your trip overseas, it will be the best time of your life! I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything else in the world and that is why I encourage everyone to study in a foreign country. You not only learn so much about the world, but an overwhelming amount about yourself in the process.