There are many ways to continue your education, which is a good reason in itself for you to take your learning beyond your university. Studying abroad is a brilliant combination of mind-opening travel, learning independence, new experiences, and, of course, an extended education.
If you’re afraid of what you might miss at home while you’re gone, try to remember there are multiple ways to keep in touch with your friends (and most likely your friends will be living vicariously through you and your social media accounts).
Studying abroad isn’t something that everyone thinks about during their college years, yet regrets once they’ve graduated and moved on with real-life.
Here are the reasons why I loved studying abroad in Europe and why you should too:
The Travel Experience
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” This statement couldn’t be more true. It makes you richer because you’re now educated about another part of the world with its customs, culture, and way of life. When you study abroad, traveling will always be on your mind, such as, where should I go to next?
The airfares and trains make traveling a lot easier too once you’re abroad. It’s relatively inexpensive from country to country in Europe. Not only is it inexpensive, each trip is unique in its own way. Some places you will visit will be very quaint as others have houses and shops crowded together on a large mountain.
Where to stay when you travel? You really don’t get the full effect of travel without staying in a hostel. Staying over night in a hostel is ideal when hopping countries on the weekends because it’s cheap and you meet other people that are bunking with you. Each trip you take while abroad will lead to new friendships.
Friends for a Lifetime
Studying abroad not only opens up to a new experience, it opens you up to new relationships. Imagine yourself in a different country for a semester or two with people you’ve just met. You’re experiencing culture shock, a different language, and a foreign place together. The people you meet when you study abroad won’t just be a classmate from Chemistry or Journalism 101. The people you study abroad with will be friends that last for a lifetime.
The greatest part about making these new friendships is that you’ll share the experience together. Whether you wander the streets of Rome or travel to another city or country during the weekend, those relationships will hold some of the greatest memories.
When your study abroad is over, you’ll have various places throughout the US to travel to next because everyone you meet will live in different places. Your study abroad friends will always be there no matter how long it takes to catch back up with them.
Culture and Cuisine
Between the culture and cuisine, you’ll never get enough of it. From the endless gelato pitstops and bread baskets at dinner to the homemade pastas, study abroad will wiggle your waistline. When you’re abroad, all of your “too many carbs” will go down the drain. You’ll experience various cuisines from country to country.
Along with cuisine, breakfast, lunch, and dinner will fall at different times of the day. Most days you won’t find yourself sitting down to eat dinner until 10 PM at night because you ate lunch at 2 PM. The various dining times fall around the culture. With the odd times you’ll find yourself stuffing your face, you will also find yourself sitting at the table for longer than you’d sometimes want to.
As for culture, it will come as an unexpected shock. You’ll most likely experience some form of culture shock from religious beliefs, values, concepts, languages, and customs. When you’re exploring the city of your stay, it won’t appear the same as a US city. You’ll find that walking is your best friend because it’s easier than hoping on a bus that enables you to view the city as if you were a resident. Experiencing the people and the places around you will open your mind to whole new world, literally.
One of the greatest values to take from studying abroad is learning about yourself, processing your new experiences, and having a better understanding of what you are truly capable of. Not only did you just travel across the world, but you did it by yourself.
During your time abroad you’ll learn that the simplest things in life are the best. One day you’ll be walking down an street in Nice, France and notice the street performers, the narrow alleyways, and families enjoying an outside brunch. You realize you’re in a place where there’s not Wi-Fi until you hit the overhang of the hostel. Being away from social media during those hours will open your eyes to a whole new world because instead of “liking” photos from people you don’t know, you will be the one experiencing it all.
On your trip you will find a lot out about yourself. You will go through changes that you may or may not enjoy, but you will learn from that experience. You should really study abroad in college because it’s the best time of your life, and honestly when are you ever going to be able to visit a foreign country, study, and explore again?