Cultural Experience | All Destinations

10 Bad Excuses to Not Study Abroad

Top 10 reasons why people choose not to travel, and why you should throw those reasons out the airplane window and study abroad!

A few months from now, when you return from your international adventure, you probably won’t be thinking, “gee, I really missed out on those frat parties that happen every other night at school. I should never have left!” No, no, no. You will forget all about them. Study abroad is really that great, I promise. Your life at school becomes much smaller, your worldview becomes bigger and your experience abroad will be a highlight, if not the highlight of your college career. Of course, everyone tells you such things before you decide to go abroad. “You won’t regret it!” they say. “It’s worth leaving your friends, family, favorite burrito restaurant, luxuries of America and working toilets!” they say. Working toilets?! Favorite burrito restaurant!? They don’t have those things abroad?? Well, maybe not in some places. (Sadly, unless you are going to… Mexico, the Mexican food is rather bleak in every other country. Maybe you can go find that one good European Mexican restaurant.) But I tell you, it is worth it! And to prove it to you I shall debunk the top 10 bad excuses one might come up with to not have the best semester of their life.

1. “I’ll miss Taco Bell. And real cheeseburgers. And Starbucks!!”

Okay, perhaps a minor excuse, but I’ve heard it before. Adjusting to a new way of eating might be tricky, but it is more fun and easy than you might think to find delicious and totally edible new foods no matter where you are. From France to Vietnam, you can eat as simple or as culinary cultural you’d like. And there’s a Subway in over 90 countries, so you’ll be fine.

Nothing is more organized than a Japanese meal

Nothing is more organized than a Japanese meal

 2. “I can’t leave my friends for that long… THEY’LL MISS ME!!”

Yes, your friends will miss you. Yes, you will miss your friends. Yes, they will be right where you left them as soon as you return. Yes, you will make the friends of a lifetime on your study abroad trip. For some reason it is so easy to bond with people you travel with. Probably because you are stuck together 24/7 with new experiences hitting you like an unexpected drizzle in London every 5 seconds. You can’t help but become best friends.

sahara desert jenna peck image

The best friends are study abroad friends

3. “Okay, but my family. Come on. We just got a puppy and it’s adorable and-“

Noooo. You already left them to go to college. This isn’t that different. You can find a wifi café with way better coffee than America and a slightly worse internet connection, and then Skype them to your heart’s content. Skype is magical. People used to be only able to communicate through letters, so consider yourself lucky!

4. “I’m going to miss out on all the fun this semester.”

The good news is that you are only leaving for one semester, or if you’re lucky, a year. The other good news is that you aren’t missing out on anything compared to what you will experience. The bad news is… ihhukI promise you that the same frat party, with the same drunk people, at the same dingy bar will still be there when you get back. And you will completely forget all about “all the fun” at school as you galavant around a new country, full of exciting and interesting things to do and new friends with cute accents.

You don't get to hang out with groups of Japanese locals at a robot battle bar back at home!

You don’t get to hang out with groups of Japanese locals at a robot battle bar back at home!

5. “Okay, but I need to work or get an internship. Studying abroad is no good on a resume!”

Au Contraire! Studying abroad makes you a more well-rounded and interesting person. Being able to live in a another country, communicate with strangers who are totally different from you and balance your studies and travel are great life skills, and I can’t think of anything better to talk about in an interview.

6. “But what if I get homesick in the middle and want to leave?? A semester is a long time.”

You won’t. Well, you might get homesick, just a tad when you scroll through your facebook and talk to your friends, but you won’t want to leave. You will be having more fun than ever.

7. “Ew, I can’t live without air conditioning/real toilets/drinkable water and hostels sound gross.”

Well, people live this way every day. And not every study abroad is like this. You can choose to go somewhere where you will be roughing it a bit more than if you go say, England or most of Western Europe. However, some of the most fun and exciting experiences are had when you are in a place where you must expect the unexpected.

 8. “How am I supposed to STUDY in a place where I don’t even speak French/Spanish/Chinese/Japanese/Russian/Swahili/German/British Accent English….”

That’s why you’re going!!! It is surprisingly easy to pick up the basics of a language, and you will pick up a lot more than the basics. Also, people are universally nice and helpful, if you just ask for help. Language barrier is not an unsolvable problem when travelling abroad.

 9. “I don’t have the time.”

Perhaps the most valid of all of these reasons. Graduating on time while studying abroad can be a challenge, but it can also be really easy. You have to find the right program that has the right classes for you, and your school’s study abroad office should be helpful in this. If all else fails, take some summer school!

 10. “I don’t know anyone else going I’LL HAVE NO FRIENDS!!!”

GOOD!!!! You’ll be forced to make new friends. And when you are away from the familiar in a new environment with new people, you begin to understand yourself better. In the words of Danny Kaye, “To travel is to take a journey into yourself.”

Because the people you meet abroad will stay with you forever.

Because the people you meet abroad will stay with you forever.

So there you go. If you have any more excuses, shout them at me and I will SHOUT BACK AT YOU THAT YOU HAVE TO STUDY ABROAD PLEASE IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER. Do whatever it takes to get overseas, and know that challenging yourself is really the only way to grow. Go forth and have the best semester ever. Go abroad!

Jenna Peck

Southern Methodist University | 17 stories

Jenna Peck is a senior majoring in History and English at Southern Methodist University from Long Beach, California. She has studied abroad in Italy, England and has recently returned from a voyage around the world on Semester-at-Sea. She loves to travel and really finds it difficult to stay in one place for a long period of time, but when she does she loves to read, explore the world of the internet, blog and find exciting things to do right at home in Dallas, Texas!


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