Don’t be scared to study abroad. In the “Don’t Be Scared” series, I will highlight some of the most common concerns I’ve received about studying abroad. If you’ve never considered studying abroad, I ask you, WHY NOT? If you are studying abroad as an undergrad, there will never be another time in your life when you have this kind of freedom – freedom from a job, freedom from bills (kinda), or the freedom to explore.
You say, “But I don’t want to miss a whole semester at my school.”
My Reply: SHAME ON YOU! 🙂 No, but I know this definitely crosses the minds of those who are very involved on campus and who live for their university (especially good ol HU – which I will continue to use as an example, but you can get the same effect by inserting your school’s name instead). Realistically, you will be at Howard for 8 semesters, and spending one of them having a unique experience in a foreign country will only enhance your memories of HU when you look back as an alumni/a. Besides, YOU KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON ON CAMPUS! It happens every year. If you don’t want to miss Homecoming (although it’s probably going to rain anyway ;-)), go in the spring! If you don’t want to miss running for student office, how about a summer opportunity? Also, think about the value a study abroad experience will add to your (campus) resume. When you are running for student government or trying to be a part of other organizations, just think about how much more desirable of a candidate you will be for various campus organizations when you return. Studying abroad definitely sets you apart. While Howard means the world to most of us, realize that there is a whole world outside of THE YARD (outside our borders even) and it is just as interesting and just as exciting.
The semester will fly by, and with tools like Skype, Twitter, and your online school newspaper – you will know everything that’s going on! Although I would bet that your experience is going to be such an amazing one that you won’t be nearly as concerned with campus happenings as you think you will be. Instead, you will be booking trips to Paris, going crazy at a futbol game, exchanging cultural oddities with a native, or perhaps just sitting back, relaxing, enjoying the endless possibilities that a semester in a foreign country with brand new friends, a brand new language, and brand new customs may bring.