9 Reasons Why You Should Consider Studying Abroad!

9 Reasons Why You Should Consider Studying Abroad!

It's an adventure of a life time that you do not want to miss!

College is fun. Or so I’ve heard. It's the “best four years of your life” where you make friends for life, further your education, and prepare yourself for the rest of your life. But for some college students, that isn’t ambitious enough.

They desire to challenge themselves in a whole new way. They want to take the road less travelled and enter a place that probably does not speak their native language, nor practice the same American customs that they have been raised with. Studying abroad is one without a doubt one of the best decisions I’ve made in college. For a semester I had the time of my life, learned so much about culture, language, and most importantly, I learned about myself. I highly recommend every college student to consider studying abroad, and wanted to provide all of you with 9 reasons why you should think about it too!

1.) It's an adventure of a lifetime.

Just picture this: Packing up and getting on a plane to a destination that you’ve only seen in pictures, tasting new flavors, hearing new music, seeing works of art, architecture and countryside that can bring you to your knees with its beauty and contrast to what you’ve grown up with.

2. It makes you more proficient in your chosen foreign language

What better way to practice the language you study than to have to speak it on an everyday basis? You’re exposed to new vocabulary that serves a practical purpose in your life.

Suddenly, the word for “bakery” or learning how to ask for and give directions is important for your life! By the end of your semester, you’ll be miles ahead of your peers back at your home school at your level and will have improved so much.

3. You’ll probably be able to travel and see more countries than just your host nation.

During my semester in Paris, I was able to visit Dublin, London, Brugge (Belgium), Prague and visited several cities in France. I was exposed to so many cultures, foods, drinks, people and wonderful cities. Travel can be quite affordable if you are willing to do your research and plan far enough in advance!

4. You’ll make awesome friends

During my time abroad I made a few special friends I hope I will keep in contact with for the rest of my life. We all took on this new challenge together and bonded over the trials and tribulations that come with studying in a foreign nation. We traveled together, would cook and eat dinner at each others houses and go out and have a blast as Americans trying to get by in a new city.

5. You’ll learn to deal with stressful situations in a whole new way!

Life as a college student is hard enough, especially if you live independently at a big college. But imagine all of the struggles you have multiplied when you have a language and culture barrier to deal with! I remember during my first few days in Paris, just being terrified of anyone coming up to me and speaking French. By the end, I openly embraced challenges with language and culture.

6. The time away from your school will make you appreciate it more.

Going to a military college where my everyday life is rougher than most college students and is spartan, as far as comfort is concerned, I did not expect to miss my school. But I most certainly did. I found myself FaceTiming my roommates and loved hearing all about life back at VMI. Now that I’m back at school, I feel much better about it and the reunion I had with my friends was amazing. I have never loved my school so much before I left it for eight months.

7. You’ll receive a surprisingly excellent education

I went into my stay expecting the educational aspect to be lacking in difficulty and rigor. While the classes were not quite at the same level as the ones that I’m used to at VMI, I learned so much from the semester of classes I took in Paris. Not only did my formal language instruction pay off, but I took classes that were directly applicable in my major at VMI. I also was able to take some more fun classes like oenology, which is the study of wine! I came back home with the knowledge that I had not fallen behind in my studies, but was launched forward by it.

8. You’ll love the local culture

No matter where you are considering studying, you will come to love the culture you are immersed in. You’ll find yourself eating the local cuisine the way the locals do, rooting for the local sports teams, and taking pride in where you are. You strive to transition from “tourist” to being a local and the results are quite rewarding. Your friends or family will be so impressed with your knowledge of your new city and changed outlook if they come to visit you!

9. You’ll find a new place to call home

After spending four months (or more) in a new city and new culture, you’ll get more and more comfortable with your environment and will miss home less. In fact, when you return you may miss your host nation and all of the memories associated with it. When you look back, you’ll realize that it's your second home and that if you ever got the opportunity to visit it again, you would in a heartbeat. You love your city, or nation just as much as your own home, and wouldn’t change this experience for the world.

So get out there, there's a huge world out there to explore! Meet with your school's study abroad councelor today!

Cover Image Credit: Wallpaper Cave

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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything

They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.

Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

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My Future Is Unpredictable And That's Totally Alright

As I prepare for study abroad in Ecuador, I'm going in with no expectations.


For six months, I had plans to study abroad in the Dominican Republic during the fall semester of junior year. Filling out what seemed like endless applications and paperwork, searching for travel ideas on Pinterest, and writing a class research paper on the DR's relationship with its neighboring island, Haiti, I was prepared to live and learn about Dominican culture hands-on.

Then on the Thursday before Finals Week last spring, I read my email. My study abroad program in the DR had gotten canceled. In the span of 30 seconds, my future had taken a new course. Less than a week later, I was submitting papers to study abroad in a new country where another adventure awaited: Ecuador.

If there's anything I've learned in the past year, it's that life is unpredictable and we can't control it. The future is unknown. But-

Who wants to know exactly what's going to happen in the next few years? I mean, I believe it's good to have a direction, but you don't have to have the entire journey pinpointed straight to the core. You meet people, you get inspired, you see things, you have experiences. And you go from there. (Though, I totally respect people who have clear ambitions and stick with them their entire lives.)

Where I was a year ago was a completely different path than where I find myself today. Last summer, I worked four different internships/jobs in the span of three months. A year ago, I would never have guessed my following summer unfolding with an immersion trip to India, a solo adventure to Taiwan & Hong Kong, and becoming a certified yoga instructor. A year ago, I hadn't met half of my best friends. A year ago, I hadn't seen poverty in a third-world country. A year ago, I wasn't even sure I wanted to major in Environmental Studies.

Just because I don't know what the future holds doesn't mean I can't set goals. I have a destination, an idea of where I'm headed and where I want to go. While abroad in Ecuador, I want to learn about sustainable development and coffee production as well as enhance my Spanish skills.

As I prepare for study abroad in Ecuador, I'm going in with no expectations. I know the format of the program. I'll be taking classes and living with a host family and then doing an internship at a farm. Otherwise, I have no idea what's going to happen. And that's what I'm looking forward to the most. The spontaneity. The unexpected. As one of my good friends would say whenever he doesn't have formal weekend plans, "I'm improvising." And you know the one rule of improv: Always say yes.

¡Hasta pronto, Ecuador!

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