Studying abroad is an experience like no other. Not only do you get a chance to learn about other cultures, but as a student, you take the chance to find yourself.
With plenty of easy and cheap ways of traveling throughout other countries, you soon find yourself city and country hopping. Being a college student, there are plenty of programs and opportunities to study abroad, whether it would be a semester or a six-week summer program. Studying abroad is an important aspect of life and if you have the opportunity, seize it.
When first arriving to someplace new, the first two or three weeks may be uncomfortable. As a foreigner you need to keep in mind that everything is new, you are immersed in a brand new culture, which can take some time to adjust to. New foods, styles of clothing, people, language and the surrounding area are factors that add to this difficulty you face. As a suggestion, it is best not to talk to people from home everyday. It might add to the homesickness you may feel being hundreds of miles away. The best way to keep the feeling of homesickness to a minimum is by staying in contact with your family and friends via email and making phone calls minimal throughout the trip. Speaking to your loved ones less frequently will ease your immersion process while visiting the country.
From personal experience, traveling abroad gives you the opportunity to not only visit one ideal destination, but also take trips to many other wonderful places. For example, if you’re traveling to Europe, you can study in Italy, Spain or Ireland, just to name a few. Whether you choose one of those places to live in for four to six months, you can still have easy access to traveling to the other places you decided against. You can visit the wonderful Straight of Gibraltar in southern Spain or the Prado in Madrid. There are many religious sites of Rome in Italy and the Eiffel Tower in France. Do not be afraid to check out the Swiss Alps from either side of the border in France and Switzerland. Also, you cannot forget to visit the sandy beaches along the coasts of many of these countries. These are just a few of the magnificent places you can easily access while studying abroad in Europe.
Many of you may be thinking, how much did this cost? Well, there is a simple answer. There are planes, buses and trains that make it fun and exciting to travel throughout Europe and many other parts of the world. It will not cost you an arm and a leg, but you will have to do your research. In Europe, there are a few cheap airliners such as RyanAir and SpanAir that can help save you money on flights. Also you can travel via train. You swing by the train station either the day of or the day before and purchase a ticket to your final destination and back for approximately seventy dollars total. However, if you want one of the cheapest ways to travel you may want to look into taking the bus. This will cost you about twenty to thirty dollars depending on your destination. The only fault in this is that it may be a long trip. g abroad is a life changing experience for the good. Not only will you gain a better aspect and knowledge of the world, but you will grow as a person in finding who you are. It opens your mind to new things and pushes you to do things you may never have done prior to this. Studying abroad is an experience everyone should take, and why not take it now when you are in the process of learning.
There is nothing holding you back from taking that chance of expanding your horizons, adding an amazing experience to your résumé, gaining amazing friendships that will last forever, and coming home to the United States a new person and outlook on life.
Suzanne Brady is a West Chester University student. She can be reached at SB619873@wcupa.edu.