I have studied abroad 2 times now. The first time was a short term experience in Higüerito, Dominican Republic. I am currently studying in Granada, Spain for the fall 18 semester. Traveling to another country to study has been a goal of mine for quite a while. I started thinking about it in high school and had decided then, that I would achieve this once I get into college. Funding for studying abroad is not scarce and there are many avenues to take advantage of, and you do not even have to be studying a language to be eligible! Some funding to look out for are the Gilman and Boren scholarships. There are often grants and scholarships offered from various colleges and departments across your own campus as well. Many people find studying abroad cheaper than staying at their home university; It has been from my experience. While some people do not want to spend a whole semester or year abroad, the good news is that there are many programs offered during winter break, spring break and for a week to 3 months in the summer.
My goals for study abroad have been to find a stronger connection with my heritage as well as improve my influence in Spanish. I have found so much more though. I have had paradigms constantly made and shattered and I believe that I have grown more not just as an American student, but as a citizen of the world. While abroad I have not just learned about the countries and cultures that I have lived in, but I have also learned about the U.S. from the outside and its influence on other regions of the world.
I can say that it is hard not having a support system in a physical proximity to me, but I have also grown a lot as a result. I believe that it has also brought me a new perspective of appreciation for the people around me. If you’re also just at a point where you need a change of pace, a semester abroad can feel like a much needed break, while also keeping you in the groove of your studies. As someone who was burned out, this has been a breather that has not only kept me on track for graduation, but that has also made me so much more motivated to graduate!
If you’re considering studying abroad, just do it. If you are worried about money, look at which countries are the cheapest to study in; wealth is not evenly spread in the world, and your dollar may go farther than you think. If you want to study abroad for a semester, but it will put off your graduation, push off graduation. I say this as someone who was stressing about graduating on time, as someone who has talked to many super-seniors who are here with me, and after having talked with many graduates who regretted not studying abroad. When will you get another time to relax, live, and simply study in a foreign country for half a year, without having to worry about your food, or housing? With all of the funding that is out there, it may be the cheapest way to do just that. Education is not just what you read in a book, but what you see and experience for yourself in the world. Find find a reason, find a way.
Read more articles like this in Volume 8 Issue 3 of 7 Visions Magazine.