What is studying abroad?
Acquiring an education overseas is an opportunity accessible for the majority of undergraduate and post-grad students. Still, it is easy to overlook if not exposed to essential information. Before we proceed with this blog post, let’s define this experience. I’ve concluded that it’s tough to locate a definition that encompasses all aspects. Simply stated, studying abroad is pursuing college studies in a foreign country. Although these programs are customarily associated with undergrad, they extend and apply to all university studies.
Why did I decide to study abroad?
The moment I stumbled upon the study abroad program table at a club fair, I went for it. I previously hinted at the issue of students being exposed to these programs. If I were introduced earlier, I would’ve taken the opportunity numerous times. For as long as I can remember, I’ve admired travel. The chance drew me in, and I saw it through. Endless possibilities of countries and foreign capitals caught my attention. I grasped that it would be an unimaginable learning curve. The concept of being able to travel while obtaining university credits amazed me.
Where did I go?
Determining where to spend the fall semester of senior year (super late, I don’t recommend) demanded an abundance of time and consideration. When first introduced, my heart was fixed on spending time in Bhutan. In fact, it still is. Studying overseas there is just the best way to explore this remote country, in my humble opinion. The thought of this didn’t bode well with my parents. Seeing how isolated the country is, I would be lying if I said I didn’t understand. I selected to attend university in Athens. Greece was on my list seemingly forever before this occurrence, and I’m beyond grateful that it evolved in the matter it did. I intend to do a later blog post about selecting the ideal location, so stay tuned.
What do I regret?
The only disappointment with my study abroad experience was not doing it sooner to have done it on more than one occasion. Studying overseas educated me exceeding the classroom. This type of education exposed me to numerous cultures, mannerisms, and ways of life. I absorbed a sufficient amount of Greek, which bewildered me. This semester transformed my life, personal development, and overall growth. It remains to shape the lives of students who allow it. While there are a million reasons to do so, here are my top 5.
- Generally less expensive than college in North America. I’m not sure why this took me by surprise. Rationally speaking, it makes perfect sense. The cost of my tuition for the term was decreased by nearly a third. Nonetheless, I still took the requirements needed for my major. Without a doubt, college is costly. So, why not go to a foreign country for a semester (or more) and collect credits while spending less?
- Students are expected to enjoy their time. The professors know. Those enrolled do so to obtain knowledge while appreciating the country and bordering countries as often as possible. Educators are conscious of this. I’m not suggesting that the course load is insubstantial or deadlines don’t need to be met for this purpose. Yet, they get it. They’re lenient and accommodating. Of course, this varies depending on the professor, but overall they’re considerate of the circumstances.
- Learn more about yourself. Although there will be others in your program, people you’re introduced to seek guidance if wanted, and friends you make, you’re there alone. This adventure forces you to gain independence. I landed in Athens believing I couldn’t have been more independent than I previously was. That was proven untrue repeatedly. Studying abroad revealed to me the value of self-reliance. Without this, I wouldn’t have been capable of getting around freely or visit many countries independently. This experience truly showcases how much more there is to living. Needless to say, take your education seriously. Just don’t neglect the significance of discovering you in the process.
- Travel within limits. Unquestionably, throughout the country that you’ve chosen, but across neighboring countries as well. If spending months in Europe, Asia, Latin America, or the West Indies, you’re effortlessly able to tour various countries nearby. A swift flight, train ride, or road trip enables you to encounter a society separate from the one you’re currently adjusting to.
- Learn a new language with minimal effort. Upon arriving in Athens, I appreciated knowing I would end up learning a little Greek, but not nearly as much as I did. Greek is an immensely complex language. Never did I envision how much I was able to understand. The best part? The amount that I was learning did not register. I did take a Greek Language course at my university. Even so, I wouldn’t have retained any knowledge or articulation if unable to put it to use. Plus, my Greek companions unintentionally drove me to rehearse. Being the sole native English speaker in the group, I constantly listened for phrases and words I could identify. My friends introduced me to common expressions that I would’ve never discovered in the classroom (hehe). I approached daily living in Athens as an opportunity to improve my Greek. Public transportation became a game. I found myself sounding out the train stops to the best of my ability, then anticipating the correct pronunciation to compare. Following learning the articulation of the Greek alphabet, I vocalized everything in sight. Inadvertently or deliberately, you’ll grow accustomed to the native language.