Why Study Abroad?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Normally, you have four years of college. Sometimes, you have less, sometimes you have more. Life happens. Things get advanced, left behind, what else is new?
I always had a four year plan. I knew what classes I was going to take, I knew exactly how college was going to pan out.
Freshman year, I came in undeclared and quickly thought that since I was undeclared I was therefore going to fail. So I declared a major I knew nothing about. Sociology. I took one class, and knew it was not for me. Granted, I got an A in the class and learned a TON of new things, I did not want to take classes over the next four years on this topic. Once again, I was undeclared.
The next year, I declared my major in what I knew, had grown up with, and could see myself enjoying. Politics.
I was not behind schedule because of my major change, rather I found out that I could graduate early! But, instead of saving money, sorry Mom and Dad, I decided to add on a minor in Public Relations. Now I would be graduating right on time. What did this mean? No semester abroad for me. But in all honesty, I asked myself in spring 2013, Could I actually spend 6 months in a foreign country without my parents, friends, or sorority? Probably not. This is why I started looking at summer programs.
2 weeks? 3 weeks? 4 weeks? 6 weeks?
Australia? Paris? Madrid? South America?
A conference? An internship? Spanish classes? Service trip?

When I texted my mom about the Madrid, four week intensive program, I knew I had enough information to justify going. I would finish my foreign language requirement while still studying abroad, and I would make it back in time for my summer job. It was perfect. All I needed to do was find the money and get accepted into the program.
I am lucky enough to thank my parents for funding me on my study abroad trip. I honestly would be even more broke than I am now not have been able to go if it wasn't for them. Spain took my money, Spain gave me memories, Spain gave me friends, Spain made me gain 3 pounds and then lose 10, and I gave Spain a part of my heart. I want to go back to Spain every day. I want to explore more. I want to show my friends and family my favorite places in Madrid and what to do and where to stay when in Barcelona for 3 days.

A month, I thought was the perfect amount of time. Yes, it was perfect in the sense that I was BEYOND ready to come home, but no, in the sense that there is so much more to Spain I wish I had experience. Which is why I want to go back.

I am writing this post as a reminder to myself why I studied abroad, and as an encouragement to everyone in college that if you have the opportunity, even for a few weeks, to take it, and study abroad. I made friends I would have never met, and now have memories to last me a life time.

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