Should you study abroad?

May 31, 2012

Taking a term - or even a year - away from your campus, friends and professors can seem like a daunting commitment, And it definitely is. Studying abroad isn't for everybody, but it is for many people.

Living in another country is an opportunity most students won't be able to take once they graduate. Studying abroad gives you much more than an alternative to your education, it gives you an alternative to your lifestyle. Whether you're adjusting to Spain's daily siesta schedule or in the throes of learning to write and speak Japanese, studying abroad will far remove you from your comfort zone in the most exciting ways possible.

Adventure isn't a word to be thrown around lightly. It makes us think of Indiana Jones or mountain climbers who scale Everest, but these extreme and fictional adventures aren't any more deserving than your experiences abroad. Foreign programs and schools will offer you a number of opportunities to seek out internships, volunteer work and travel. You may not ascend Everest, but you can navigate the beautiful old world maze of Venice or devote study to women's politics in Morocco. From Patagonia to Greece, Ireland to Iceland, a multitude of study abroad programs are available to those looking to seek them out.

As study abroad is occasionally more financially strenuous than a semester at your school (even if programs are cheaper, plane fare can put stress on your bank account), be sure to look into college grants and scholarship options. Some prior scholarships may also carry over to your study abroad period - if they don't, make sure and take steps to secure them for when you return.

Bustling new cities, startling vistas, new and sumptuous foods and cultures - studying abroad will give you the chance to become a more independent person, fuller and colored by your experiences abroad. You will fall in love with cities, meet new people and even gain an entirely new vantage on the United States. No matter who you are when you leave, you will return home cosmopolitan, a young person with a better understanding and grasp of the world.

To study abroad is to take a huge step forward in both your personal and academic educations. Not everyone will be ready their sophomore or even junior year, but those that are shouldn't hesitate to take the leap. Secure your scholarship application, find the right program and the right country and jump into your adventure.

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