Every college student wants to experience all that campus life has to offer. We want to be involved and make lasting friendships. Being a transfer student can make anyone feel rushed, and transferring to a new school means less time at your university than the average attendee. This can make the decision to study abroad as a transfer student a challenging one.
As a transfer student myself, I want to go over some tricks that I used to not only decide to go abroad for a semester, but to ensure I would have no regrets in the process.
1. Do not let the fear of missing out stop you.
One of my biggest worries about leaving to go study abroad in Limerick, Ireland for a semester was the fact that I had only had one semester under my belt at my home university, The University of South Florida. As a transfer student, I had made friends, but only for that one semester. I did not want to miss out on all of the connections I could make and clubs that I could join that spring.
My decision to go abroad ended up leaving me with way fewer regrets than if I had let FOMO (fear of missing out) stop me. When I returned to campus the following fall semester, my friends were all there waiting, and I continued to get involved more on campus. Being an Alumni Ambassador for AIFS also helped me to stay connected.
2. It could be easier to take the classes that you need.
Transferring often times leads to a level of being behind in your classes toward your degree. For me, almost all of my transfer credits were counted as elective credits. As a result, I had a very strict schedule of classes that I needed to take. This worried me about studying abroad at first, but then I discovered that it actually might make it easier for me to get those classes. AIFS, depending on the program, gives you a large range of classes to choose from. I even had the university’s entire list of classes to find the ones that would work as equivalents of the ones that I needed. If you go to a university where it is a struggle to get the popular classes that you need for a semester, studying abroad could open these classes up for you.
3. Stay connected.
Many students try to disconnect somewhat from home when traveling or studying abroad. This is good for embracing a new culture and making sure that you are open to the many new experiences that come with living in a different country. I practiced this method, but only to a certain extent. I made sure to send a message every once in a while to group chats and organizations that I was newly a part of at my home university. I also made sure to still receive school emails and updates so that I still knew — for the most part — what I was missing as a whole. This kept me in the loop as a transfer student, and I did not feel forgotten about when I arrived back in the fall.