Have you ever wanted to try something new? To jet to France, Peru, Hungary, or England and experience the world while still in college? Studying abroad is popular amongst college students. It provides the opportunity to immerse oneself in a new culture, try a different education system, meet new people, potentially learn a new language, and more. Many college students opt to go for only one semester of their college career. That way, they can still experience a taste of the world but not give up too much of their college experience, right?
Well, I’m here to give you five reasons why you should opt to go for a year– no matter how scary it seems!
1. Become a resident: If you want to be apart of your host country–and not just an extended visitor or tourist–you have to devote the time necessary to becoming one. In both the city and university at which you’re studying, the students and people who live there aren’t going to view you as someone legitimately trying to absorb their culture if you are just stopping by for a few months. You will be able to navigate your town/ city and country so much more by the end of the second semester. You’ll have a favorite cafe, bar, park, and spot to study. And most importantly, you’ll be able to call it home.
2. Make lasting friendships: Imagine your freshman year of college. Now imagine at the end of one semester, you had to leave. Wouldn’t you be so much less close to your friends than you were after a year? Wouldn’t you have missed out on so many opportunities to meet more people? You’d be shocked by how much more even one friendship can develop by spending another semester there. Not to mention, the students of your host country aren’t as likely to open up to you if you’re just a visitor. But if you’re a resident, like them, they’ll want a real friendship with you too!
3. Learn a new language: I studied abroad for the year at Oxford University in England so this doesn’t apply to me, but I can guarantee, from many of my friends who studied in Italy, Spain, Sri Lanka, and more, that staying the full year makes all the difference in attaining fluency. They noticed a remarkable difference in their ability and confidence from the end of their first semester and by the end of the year. If you’re going abroad to learn a new language, you have to go for the whole she-bang.
4. Your home college will still be waiting for you, I promise: Do you experience FOMO (“Fear Of Missing Out”) like me? I was petrified to give up a quarter of my college career to ship off to England. Why would I give up something I knew so well for something I could potentially hate? But here’s something to think about. You’ll always know what you’ll be missing at home. You know the clubs, the friends, the parties, the football games. And yes, that’s hard to give up. But you’ll never know what you’d be missing in Dublin or Paris or Florence. And, speaking from experience, your college will be just the same as you left and ready to welcome you again with open arms. The only FOMO going on will be by your friends who will endlessly stalk your Facebook pictures
5. You need time to adjust: Moving to a new country and going to a new school takes time to adjust, and that amount of time varies for everyone. If it takes you a full month or two to find your place and get used to everything, imagine leaving shortly thereafter? A year seems daunting, I know, especially if you’re unhappy when you first get there (I was!). But you need the time after you adjust to truly live. And plus- you never know what activities, events, and opportunities are waiting for you in the upcoming months. Don’t waste that opportunity!
Lovelies, are you thinking about study abroad? What would you make want to — or not want to — go for a year?