Allison Krupp is a recent Indiana University Creative Writing graduate who spends her days freelancing and exploring the world. Contact her for further advice or information at [email protected]
Should you study abroad? You’re turning it over in your mind. There’s a lot to hold you back from your study abroad experience. For example: your college town is thriving, the basketball team is going to be really good this next semester, you can finally drink at the downtown bars, etc.
But don’t let anything keep you at home.
I chose to study abroad in Greece—on a Greek island, no less. But prior to my art school experience in the sands, I visited all my other friends at their European study abroad locations. And let me tell you: all of them were beaming.
Because as you study abroad, you must learn to co-exist with a completely different culture. You thought going to college was a tough leap; think of flying to another country with just one suitcase and four or five months stretched out before you. You will learn to exist in streets that have seen multiple centuries; you will learn a culture that has pulsed without you for hundreds of years.
There’s something very beneficial about that understanding: that there’s another entire world outside of your tiny world at your university. Study abroad is your first taste of after-college world experience in the safe zone of an affiliate, out-of-country university. Some of my friends opted to live with another country’s family, thus claiming the understanding of the country’s complete morning, noon, and night routines. They ate the country’s foods; they drank the country’s drinks. You’ll forget all about that food truck that pulled up to the college bar in no time; trust me.
Do not stay at home simply wondering what would have happened on your study abroad experience. Embrace the open culture before you; head straight to your university’s study abroad offices and peruse their offerings. Often times, you can find something that coincides with your major. (But don’t let that limit you; I’ve known people who’ve found their major through an interest they garnered during their time studying abroad. Let the world be your guide!)
Remember the people who stayed home from college? How much fun they still have at your old favorite hometown restaurant, you think. But they never got to experience the sheer life of college. If you stay at your university and don’t dare to embark out into the world through study abroad, you may never experience it. Take the risk.