For a lot of people, studying abroad can be a really tough decision. It’s a huge leap to go to a foreign country with different food, people and customs (yes, I put food first). And I think a big part of what makes many reluctant is the myths around the study abroad experience. So, I decided to break down a couple of these and convince people out there that studying abroad really is the best decision you could possibly ever make, whether for a whole semester, or just a summer like me.
Myth 1: You’ll miss out on too much back home
- This one’s inevitable. Obviously, if you’re in another country, you will miss a couple Saturday nights back at home, miss some birthdays and, depending on the length of your stay, you might even miss some major milestones, or at least, what a 20 year old defines as a milestone. But, there’s always a silver lining. Sure you might miss a night out with friends, but you will be in a different country, creating memories of your own with a new group of friends that you’ll never forget. Those nights out at home will still be there when you return, and likewise, your friends won’t be going anywhere. So take advantage of every opportunity, and embrace your adventure!
Myth 2: You won’t enjoy the country you’re in because you will be overwhelmed with school work. A vacation would be better.
- I love a good vacation as much as the next guy, but studying abroad is on a different level than any vacation I’ve ever been on. I am no longer a tourist, but rather a resident of London. I eat, sleep and go to school here and I couldn’t be happier. I walk cobblestone streets to get to my photography class each morning, and have found a routine and a niche here in Kensington, a phenomenon I have never experienced when vacationing somewhere for a short period of time. As far as school, you simply need to find a program that works with your schedule and academic requirements. I planned to study abroad, so I saved up my elective credits and am now able to enjoy more “fun” classes that I am genuinely interested in, rather than core curriculum. But even if you haven’t been planning your journey abroad as long as I have, there are multiple programs and specializations to choose from to best fit you!
Myth 3: You’ll either starve or gain weight because of the different food
- This was a myth I personally was quite worried about. Saying I’m a picky eater is a pretty big understatement, and England doesn’t have the best reputation for its food. However, like most things, it’s all about moderation. I am a student at Uni, so I knew not to expect 5 star dining out of the cafeteria, but it is nowhere near as bad as I expected. Sure, there’s a bit of adjustment when you’ve grown accustomed to your mom’s cooking again from the beginning of the summer, but just like when I first started college, I’m learning to eat in moderation and to try new things (no matter how challenging!)/ Gaining weight was another huge concern of mine, as I have had Cadbury chocolate and other European delicacies on different trips to Europe and wasn’t sure how I would react to having it at my disposal (I’m not known for my self control…). However, everyone walks everywhere in Europe. On average, I walk about 5 miles per day, and so far everything seems to be balancing itself out in that department.
Myth 4: You won’t be able to travel to other countries because it’s too expensive
- I worked two jobs to save up before coming to London, because I knew I wanted to travel around Europe while I was here. I would definitely recommend saving up before going abroad if you plan it enough in advance. I have been here for two weekends, and have had the opportunity to go abroad both weekends! It is actually quite affordable if you plan your trips in advance, and look online for deals and student discounts. Be prepared that it might not be the most glamorous travel (I spent 15 hours on a MegaBus last weekend), but it’s all worth it for the new places and cultures you will experience.