In about a week I will finally be on a plane to Europe to spend the rest of my semester studying abroad in France. I’ve waited probably about 8 or 9 months for this moment, so let me tell you I am beyond excited. I know this is going to be an amazing semester!
Ever since I first started high school I knew what I wanted. I wanted to learn French and I wanted to study abroad in France. It’s always been a dream of mine, something I’ve had with me for a very sizable time in my life, and the fact that it’s finally coming true still strikes me speechless. The years I’ve spent dreaming about studying abroad in France, and the hours I’ve spent procrastinating on schoolwork while researching what it would be like to study in France, are most definitely not for nothing.
It’s not impossible, and it is totally worth it. I’ve heard all there is to hear about why someone wants to study abroad but “can’t” or “doesn’t think it’s a good idea” due to whatever barriers they have in their way. Whether it be not wanting to be away from home for that long, worrying about getting behind on your graduation plan, claiming that it will be too expensive (and I’m positive this barrier is probably the one that most people have) or any other number of reasons, I think that everyone who wants to can study abroad. If you’re reading this but having doubts about spending a semester abroad, you can do it, too!
When I decided to officially study abroad, it was not an easy decision. I decided around the end of my first semester of freshman year that I wanted to spend this fall semester of my sophomore year in France, and so I set about making it happen. I firmly believe that the reason I was willing and able to make it happen is because I put it at as one of the top of my priorities. Making study abroad a priority is incredibly important because if it isn’t a priority then there will always be something that gets in the way.
One huge barrier for me is money and expense, as I’m sure it is for most people. I’ve always struggled with this particular barrier, but I wanted to study abroad so badly that I made it my priority, and I made it happen. I worked a part-time job during the school year. During the summer, I worked full-time with two jobs. I put most of that money into my study abroad fund. It wasn’t easy at all, but I haven’t even left for France yet and I can already say that it is most definitely worth it. I would do it again. Scholarships are also a huge help, and I encourage everyone to apply because you never know what you could qualify for.
Even before I applied, I spent hours researching the best programs that would fit for me. I managed to find a program with AIFS that not only keeps me right on track with my graduation plan, but also helps me accomplish my goal of learning French.
Yes, no matter what program it is, it will still take you away from home and from the familiar for a while, but that is also a huge positive. It builds character; it teaches you lessons you would never have learned before. I know I’ll be missing out on a lot with school, friends and with family, but that’s the thing about putting study abroad as one of the top of my priorities; I know that the things I will experience abroad will entirely make up for and surpass what I may be missing out on here at home.