Cultural Experience | Resources

Taking the Leap to Study Abroad.

Spread your wings and jump, you could find yourself jumping off a bridge in Croatia or jumping from a plane in Switzerland.

When I first started applying to colleges, I knew that I wanted to eventually study abroad. I would look at Instagram and see peoples Facebook photos, and all I wanted to do was go there also.

With being a wee little freshman, my parents obviously supported this idea I had planted in my head, but once sophomore year rolled around, the applications for studying abroad came with it. The first main question was, well where do you want to go? I had no idea. It was hard enough to pick a college, and that was just in the United States. Now you have the chance to explore the beaches in Australia, smoke some weird things in Amsterdam or stay up till dawn everyday in Barcelona. (12 Great Reasons to Study Abroad)

Where to Study Abroad

Deciding where to spend those four months are crucial to your experience. Think about all aspects while exploring your options, food, money, location, transportation, every city is different, but you’ll find the perfect one for yourself. You don’t just want to settle on some place that looks nice in photos, or some place with cute boys (but that would be nice too…), pick some place that is going to surprise you everyday and encourage you to explore every street, store and restaurant you can.

What to study while abroad

Along with deciding where you want to have the best four months of your life, you may also want to think of the classes you will be taking. Yes you actually do have to take classes when you’re abroad. Yes it is not ideal, but it really helps with the adjustment of living in another country with new people. Some study abroad programs have really cool classes though that won’t be too boring to sit through. From wine tasting to cooking, different programs offer different classes that you wouldn’t be able to take in the states! Try something different and look at the fun and interesting classes that you can use to make up your schedule, you may even learn a few new recipes while you’re away.

How to take the leap

Yes, living in a different country is an exciting, but also scary thought. For the longest time, I was so scared to get on a plane and not be able to go home for four months. I sat with the application on my desk for about a week before I fully committed to fill it out. My anxiety and nervous stomach made me terrified to take this next giant step in my life. I was scared I would not be able to do it. I was worried I would hate being away. You have to take the chance. Forget about every single doubt in your mind and go abroad. Don’t let the fear of getting homesick ruin your thoughts. As much as you’ll think about home, you’ll fall in love with another home in the mean time and won’t even have time to think about all of the Dunkin Donuts coffee you miss.

How to make the most of your time

The summer before I left, I researched every place I wanted to travel, how I would get there and what I would do. My parents couldn’t believe that I wanted to travel almost every weekend I was away. One of the main parts of being abroad is the ability to easily travel to different countries and see different cultures all over the globe. This is your time to see what you want to see when you’re only responsibility is to get that paper done by next Wednesday. Traveling abroad is a very different experience than traveling throughout the states. Trust me, once your parents understand it all, they’ll be on board and understand why traveling is a must.

My story started in Newark airport with a suitcase packed to the brim and weighing in at 68 pounds. Where will your story start? If you’re thinking of studying abroad, don’t let anything stop you. Wherever you land, I’m sure that you will never regret it and you’ll want to relive those four months for the rest of your life. Here’s 25 Travel Tips for every College Traveler.

Juliana Pokorny

Marist College | 1 story

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