Once you survive freshman year, your school’s campus starts to feel a little smaller and lot less daunting. If you find yourself missing the thrill of a new start, study abroad might be your perfect fix. We’ve all heard that getting the chance to try living in a foreign country can be a life changing experience. But with study abroad comes many more challenges than just taking a good passport picture and getting the right adapters.
If you’re still struggling to decide if you should pack your bags here are a few things to consider to before taking off.
- See the World- This might seem semi-obvious, but getting the chance to travel to new places can broaden your perspective. If you have yet to get a passport and go abroad, college is a great time to do it. Once graduation comes there will be student loans to pay off and that means a full time job. Take the chance now to try living in a new country for a few months while you still have the opportunity.
- Friends in New Places- Meeting new people is a huge part of going off to college. When studying abroad, you will be thrown into a brand new place where everything is unfamiliar, but fortunately so will the other students in your program. Not only will you bond with other study abroad students, but you will make friends in the country you’re visiting. Making foreign friends can mean a free couch to sleep on next time you go abroad.
- Break from the Stress- Yes, study abroad offers stresses of its own- the public WiFi never seems to work and the maps are always confusing. That being said, it can also be a great way to step away from the books. Even though you are still taking classes while abroad, many programs are set up to give you less work and more time off to travel.
- Money- Many study abroad programs are affordable and cost the same amount as a semester at your own school. Don’t forget, though, there are many of other costs to factor into your budget. For students with part time jobs while in school, it also means months out of work. The exchange rates, plane tickets, hostels, dinners with friends and numerous souvenirs add up fast.
- Getting Behind- Taking a break from a full load of classes might be exactly what you need for a semester. Unfortunately, when it comes to graduating the semester abroad can leave you behind on units. This could mean loading up on classes in your final semesters, taking a class during summer or even having to take another year to finish your degree.
- Homesickness- Homesickness might seem like something that you only experience as a child at summer camp. When going abroad, however, it can really affect your experience. The language, food, customs and people will all be completely new. Once the excitement wears off, it can you leave you feeling completely uncomfortable. Months of living this way can be way too much for some people, making a shorter trip abroad a better option.
Anna Goforth, Student Ambassador and College Blogger for ACI Specialty Benefits, is a Journalism and Public Relations student at Point Loma Nazarene University. Anna writes for ACI’s HealthyU™ blog while keeping up with college life. After moving from Alabama to California for college, Anna spent a semester abroad in London where she traveled throughout Europe.