I’m back, baby- writing to you for the third and final time from my hostel cafeteria in Dublin, Ireland. This trip is a sort of last hoorah, as I am approaching the end of my fourth month in Europe and, thus, the end of my time abroad. It’s a weird feeling knowing that my life, which just recently completely changed, is about to be switched right back. So, recently, I’ve found myself doing some reflecting in moments of idleness.
There’s a lot for me to digest about this last semester, and it definitely was a roller coaster of both highs and lows. But, the more I think about it, the more grateful I become and the more glad I am with my decision to go abroad. A year ago, I would’ve been daunted by the spontaneity and uncertainty of study abroad life. But now, I can’t imagine not having had these incredible experiences or having met so many amazing people from across the world. It’s only right, then, that I publicly express my utter satisfaction with these past four months in the hopes that you, too, will be encouraged to embrace the unfamiliar and have the best semester of your life. If you’re considering going abroad, this is for you. If not, still read it.
Why You Should Do It
This is a practical one, and very important. Word on the street is that 73% of employers view study abroad experience as an advantage in making hiring decisions, and 90% of employers believe that students who study abroad possess highly desirable skills. Additionally, you are sure to stand out; only about 10% of undergraduate students study abroad and even less than that go for a whole semester. Plus, study abroad might even help you decide which career path you choose to follow. I’ve heard countless stories of people who went abroad and were exposed to something that completely transformed their ambitions and set them on a different course. Had they not studied abroad, they never would’ve found their passion- just something to think about.
This is huge. In studying abroad, you are immersed in a new culture with a different language, lifestyle, foods, customs, and traditions. Unsurprisingly, this kind of experience will help you develop cultural sensitivity, facilitate the opportunity for other cultures to inform your own practices, and stimulate you intellectually. Not only this, but as you are immersed in said culture, you build a global network and strengthen communication skills. Even more, international schools tend to do things differently than American ones. Embracing a new learning style can help you stretch your mind and see things from a different perspective.
I hate to be so 2013 about it, but it’s true: you only live once, and I can think of no better opportunity to see the world, become independent, and find yourself than study abroad. You’re young and not too tied down, and it would be a shame to pass up something that truly is so life-changing. Besides, I know you have a bucket list- wouldn’t hurt to check a few things off of it.
Well, this is me officially getting off my soapbox (even though I could probably go on forever.) To you all, thanks for giving me an outlet to process everything this semester. Au revoir and hook ‘em!
Savannah Breedlove is a 2019 Global Ambassador. She is an International Relations and Global Studies major studying at Sciences Po in Reims, France.
Don’t get left behind. Read more about Savannah’s experience abroad>>