Photo of the Christopher Columbus monument in Barcelona, Spain, by David Berkowitz.
Photo of the Christopher Columbus monument in Barcelona, Spain, by David Berkowitz.

Second Thoughts About Studying Abroad

“I don’t know why you have to go so far. Save that for after college!” Those are my mom’s words from a year ago when I told her I was thinking of studying abroad in Spain.

At the time, I was very serious about my Spanish minor and was contemplating majoring in the language as well (along with Print Communications). The thought of becoming fluent in another language was enough to sell me on the idea; the freedom to live and in Spain for a part of my college career was an added bonus. The food. The scenery. The architecture. The people. The culture. It all was so alluring to me that I thought nothing could stop me from going.

There was something in the back of my mind, though.

Elated, I began telling my other family members of my plans to go abroad. The reactions were mixed. I was met with an eye roll from my sister, hesitation from my grandmother, and congratulations from my cousins, aunts, and uncles. I couldn’t help but boast—after all, I would be the first person in my family to study abroad. But I was so wrapped up in the idea that I forgot to take other things into account.

The fact that I would be in another country, on my own, for months at a time, began nagging at me. I couldn’t just call my mom if I needed something. I couldn’t go home if I was missing my friends. I couldn’t get my haircut at my usual place. (That was probably a bit higher on my list than it should’ve been, but we all have our vices.)

I tried to brush it off. How could I back out now after I had told my whole family I was going? But the cons began to outweigh the pros. Suddenly, I no longer felt excited to go abroad. The idea slowly began to fade from my mind.

This is certainly not my way of trying to scare you away from the idea of going abroad. Tons of my friends have gone and loved it, saying it is an experience they’ll never forget. (Some of them even want to move to the country after graduation.) But as with many things, it’s not for everyone. As I’ve mentioned in the past, Arcadia is very big on Study Abroad—my friends at other schools have even told me rumors about how Arcadia forces students to go abroad. This is certainly not the case.

The truth is many people are not comfortable with going abroad. I definitely suggest leaving your comfort zone, because if you’re too comfortable, you’re not living. Being uncomfortable is not always the only factor, though. Sometimes it’s money. Sometimes it’s family. Sometimes the interest is simply not there, and that is nothing to be ashamed of.

Check out my post on an alternative to Study Abroad!

Photo by David Berkowitz

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