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The Struggle of Deciding Whether to Go Abroad or Not

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

To travel or not to travel, that is the question

Nothing compares to wandering the streets of Madison as you move from class to class, change study spaces or go out at night. The first two years of college have flown by, and I can’t imagine how much faster the next two are going to go. The speed at which college seems to be moving makes it difficult to decide whether or not I want to leave town and go abroad for a semester.    

The idea of living out my European dreams as though I am the character Emily from Emily in Paris or a social media influencer seems so appealing, but missing out on traditions that I love so much (such as football games, Lily’s Classic and Mifflin) makes my decision much more difficult. 

I have never had the opportunity to take time to travel. High school was filled with a busy schedule and mandatory events that I couldn’t miss. I have no idea what my life after college holds, meaning I don’t know if traveling will be manageable after I graduate. It feels as though next spring is the time to study abroad, but the FOMO for events in Madison next spring is drawing me to stay. 

I’ve been told by countless individuals that studying abroad is a must, and I don’t want to regret not taking the opportunity. My dad has told me that studying abroad in college was one of the best experiences he has had, and my mom said not traveling was one of her biggest regrets. My cousin, also named Elizabeth, has told me traveling is a must—a requirement, in fact. It’s hard to argue with a girl with the same name as me, and her statements are especially convincing as she has decided to work in France post-grad. 

The pull to stay in Madison for all of my remaining semesters is so high even with the positive comments about studying abroad. I love my daily routine on campus. The repetition of going to classes in familiar buildings and club meetings every night is something I greatly enjoy, not to mention the memories I’ve made strolling around on the frozen lake and taking chilling walks to restaurants surrounding the Capitol.  

Leaving the familiarity of Madison to travel feels like a risk, but with great risk can come great rewards. Traveling to Europe could come with incredible experiences, but I feel as though I could have the best of both worlds. I have always considered traveling in the summer as opposed to during a school semester. This would allow me to be in Madison for all of the festivities of the school year, and still allow me to live my travel blogger fantasies. 

My travel abroad predicament will be solved soon enough, and I’m positive whatever decision I end up making will be perfect. Whether I remain in my college apartment with my Madison besties or meet a whole host of additional friends in a different country, I know I will look back fondly on my choice.

Beth Shoop

Wisconsin '25

Hi, my name is Beth! I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but I am currently a Junior at UW Madison studying Journalism, specifically Reporting and Strategic Communication! I hope you enjoy reading about my experiences, interests, and newfound knowledge!