Stop What You're Doing and Study Abroad
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Stop What You're Doing and Study Abroad

Put down your four year plan and let's get crazy.

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Stop What You're Doing and Study Abroad
Maggie Steranko

Recently, I had the wonderful experience of studying abroad in a faculty led program to London, England. While I wish I could have stayed longer, possibly for a whole semester, I was glad to have gotten the opportunity at all. It provided me with the opportunity to learn a unique curriculum, unconnected to my major, while in a beautiful city.

Some people argue that studying abroad is too expensive or too much work. For faculty led programs, students feel that the schedules are too controlling or traveling with professors is too weird. Others are scared of flying and don't think getting over that fear is worth the experience of another country and its culture. I am here to tell you that while no beliefs are wrong, those are pretty close. My experience abroad was honestly one in a lifetime, and I could not imagine taking it back or away because it was that amazing.

For those who believe it is too expensive, I urge you to explore scholarships. There is pretty much a scholarship for everything, including great funding for study abroad experiences. Additionally, there are many full semester, as well as faculty led trips, that can be rather affordable. I was in London for 8 days, and with airfare, meals, hostel stay, museums and attractions, I spent under $3000. So it is very, very possible to have an affordable trip. One scholarship may not provide enough funds, but that is the power of scholarships: there are thousand upon thousands. Keep applying and keep trying.

While some faculty led programs can include a bit of extra class work, it is manageable, especially depending on how many credits the class is. An international experience class that is 6 credits is going to be the work load of two regular semester classes, so expect it to be so. Sure, there is less time than usual to complete the work, but also that much more free time to do it as well. My class was only 2 credits, so the workload was extremely manageable, given it was only an elective class.

At the beginning of my pre-trip classes, I was worried that going abroad with faculty members and, potentially, classmates I wouldn't get along with was weird and unnerving. On the other hand, I was thankful to have other people planning my flight, housing, meals and activities and to meet new people who have the potential to be really good friends in the future. We got maybe a bit too close to our faculty leaders, but that is almost the point. As students, we are headed into the realm of complete adulthood, so it is not out of complete normality to begin a slight but appropriate friendship with faculty. I couldn't imagine my trip without our professors and all of my traveling companions.

The last note, which a few of my classmates experienced, is the fear of flying. Although I think flying is like driving in a car or being on a train, I can understand the fear of it. While I know some people physically cannot fly due to extreme anxiety, I also know there are people who are scared but still capable of flying. To those people with slight fear, you can do it. The worst part about flying is taking off and landing, the rest is no big deal. If you can take some Benadryl or get a prescription for something to ease anxiety, you most definitely will make it through the journey just fine.

Clearly my short, but meaningful, experience in London is one I want everyone to experience in some way, shape or form, but not everyone will be as gung-ho as I am. I just think it is important that one thinks through all of the pros and cons of going abroad before deciding completely against it. I made a million or so wonderful memories in such a short amount of time, and I honestly would be up for another journey. I hope everyone makes the choice to go out of this American made box and see what the world has to offer.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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