This past summer I studied abroad at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom for four weeks through the “Shakespeare in Oxford” program here at Colorado State University. While I only studied abroad for four short weeks it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, so here are some reasons why you should try to study abroad at some point during your college career!
1. You’ll gain a newfound independence.
Walking through the streets of Oxford I often found myself alone, but not in a bad way. Spending time by myself over the course of four weeks (though not every day obviously) helped me to become much more independent and confident in who I am. I had meals by myself, went to coffee shops alone and explored the cobblestone streets - all the while finding that sometimes the best company you can keep, is yourself. Studying for four weeks in the UK made me more independent; I was forced to spend time alone, explore, organize myself and find confidence in my own abilities.
2. You’ll meet new people and make new friends.
In my month in the UK I met some amazing people who I am happy to still call my friends months later. International travel is one of the best ways to bond with people you don’t really know or that you may have never met otherwise. Study abroad provides you with the perfect opportunity to make new friends by sharing new experiences together.
3. Experiencing other cultures is good for your soul.
Stepping out of your comfort zone and delving into a culture vastly different from your own is an important human experience. While Britain is not extremely different from the United States in regards to culture, it is still a different culture. Learning about other cultures from books or movies is nothing compared to experiencing it first hand. Really experiencing Oxford culture, whether it was in their chapels, teahouses, libraries or just walking the city streets gave me a new appreciation for the world and how luck I am I have gotten to travel; it has also made my soul very happy and calm.
4. It will change who you are, what you want and what you think you're capable of.
Going into my study abroad experience I had a slight plan of where I wanted my life go, and I’ll be honest with you, coming out of my study abroad experience I now am more confused about where I want my life to go. But that’s ok! Studying abroad changed my perspective on how much academia I can actually handle, how much I enjoy traveling, and what I might actually enjoy in this life of mine. I may have less of an idea of what I want to do but I have more of an idea of how I might want to get there, or at least feel while I’m getting there. It’s ok not to have answers and studying abroad gave me more questions than I had before, but I learned what I can handle, who I am and what I might actually want for my future and for that I wouldn’t trade anything in the world.