Study, Work, Live…Abroad?
I always thought that people exaggerated the importance of studying abroad. You hear people, even worse – your friends, coming back from their AMAZING study abroad experience and you feel mainly two things: 1. Happiness (for your friend) 2. Jealousy. You begin to think why you aren’t lucky enough to study abroad or if it’s even worth going through with the process at all! But all the while you are thinking…will financial aid even cover this?
My advice is: GO! Seize the moment while you are still an undergraduate and have the opportunity to explore. But please take my advice and pick a program that you think will change your life or academic experience. I know a lot of people doing the study abroad programs just to boost their resume or to just get DEC’s finished. Don’t do this! With a little bit of planning and good luck, you can get your DEC’s finished and have an awesome resume without even leaving the country.
Go to another country with your eyes open to learn and immerse yourself in another culture. If you love marine biology and wildlife – go to Jamaica! If you love the humanities and foreign language go to Rome or St. Petersburg! For example, I went to Berlin over the summer (as I’ve said in my previous posts). I knew next-to nothing about the culture besides an intermediate knowledge of the country and geography, but I was open to learning about the culture, literature and history. Now all of you don’t have to apply to Berlin just because of my high praise, but all I’m saying is choose wisely and grasp your life in your hands.
Other than studying abroad, another great opportunity to work abroad! What can be a better way to learn about a culture than to work in a foreign country! Even if it is for a short-term, there are so many options and possibilities. One great internship program is a program hosted by Cultural Vistas (http://culturalvistas.org/). Most of their programs are in Germany, but they hold some in England, Argentina, and Chile. If you are more academically inclined then apply for a Fulbright Scholarship (http://www.iie.org/fulbright/).
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