Ok so it’s been some time since I studied abroad, almost two years now, but there is literally not a day that I don’t think about it! I am dying to go back and have such an urge to travel more often because of my experiences abroad. The summer after my sophomore year I did a 6 week program in Florence, Italy. I racked up some extra credits so THIS is why my last semester of college is so light; not such a bad idea huh? Anyways, I decided to go abroad all by myself. I mentioned it to my friends and tried to get people to come, but I knew I was going either way. This was one of the most “out there” things I have ever done. I am an extreme home body and miss my parents after a day without seeing them, so this was big for me.
If you are given the opportunity to study abroad, GO FOR IT! Here are some reasons why…
- The food. Yes I’m starting this list off right where I should be. There is just something so different about the food (specifically in Italy obvi) in other countries. Do not think twice about eating that whole pizza.
2. You will meet new, amazing people. Since I decided to go alone I kind of had no choice than to make friends and be open minded, but even if you go with your own friends you will all meet people from other colleges that are also studying abroad! I had random roommates that I lived with and was so lucky to meet some great people that I still keep in touch with today.
3. You can travel to other places nearby. When you study abroad you normally don’t have classes on Fridays, giving you the freedom to travel to other countries or cities on the weekends. This works best in Europe because travel within Europe is cheap and there are so many places that are relatively close. While I was only living in Florence for 6 weeks I still made it to Rome, Milan, the Amalfi Coast, Switzerland, Lake Como, and Barcelona.
4. There is no one to tell you no… I guess this could be a good or bad thing depending on how you use it. When I decided to go to Switzerland I knew for sure I was going skydiving. My parents didn’t love this idea but they were across the world in a different country, so I, of course, went and did it! It turned out to be the most exhilarating thing I have ever done and it felt really good to just do something because I wanted to! I topped it off by going hang gliding the next day; really pushed the limits over there in Interlaken.
5. You have the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture. To be honest, this wasn’t even really something I thought about before I went abroad. Which sounds bad, but I was so excited thinking about all of the cool places I would get to see. I didn’t think about the fact that I would actually be LIVING in another country and would eventually feel like a local. Towards the end of my journey, I had tourists coming up to ME for directions and asking if I spoke english!? It felt really weird to be considered a “local”, but I loved it! It is a great time to take advantage of all the history and culture surrounding you and try to adapt to the different type of lifestyle.
I’d love to hear about your experiences abroad or traveling, leave some comments!