There are a couple categories of people when it comes to studying abroad in college: those who have already done it, those who aren’t at all interested, and those who are… but don’t know much about it or haven’t committed to it.
I was in the last group and I’m sure a lot of people are with me! Studying abroad always seemed like a valuable experience – the chance to immerse yourself in another culture, see the world, travel, and learn new things with new people. My friends that studied abroad came back to Towson raving about their experience and even though it appealed to me, I didn’t know where to begin. To be honest, I wasn’t even fully sold on the idea. Wouldn’t I miss out at Towson? Wasn’t it both expensive and difficult to fit into my major? Where would I even go?
While listening to people’s life-changing testimonies of studying abroad and stalking their photos on Instagram is a good way to pique your interest, the first place to go is the Study Abroad office, on the 4th floor of the Psychology Building. They offer information sessions every Monday through Friday at 2 p.m., where you will talk to a peer advisor who was probably in your place not too long ago. From there, you can meet with an advisor who will help you plan everything from your destination to your program.
There are so many options out there for those of you who are interested. Don’t want to go for a full semester? Try a minimester or a summer program. Can’t afford it? Apply for the numerous scholarships that Towson and other organizations offer. Want to go but need to focus on internships? How about going abroad and doing an internship while you’re there? It sounds almost too good to be true, but it isn’t.
Full disclaimer: I haven’t studied abroad yet. A little over two months ago, I liked the idea, but had no immediate plans to go or any idea of how to begin. Now, I’m registered to be completing an internship and living in Dublin, Ireland for eight weeks this summer. My flights are booked, the paperwork is in, my passport is ready, and I’m doing something that I’ve always considered but never really thought I would be actually doing.
My advice to anyone who is thinking about this but hasn’t committed to the idea of going abroad: do it. As Towson students, we’re lucky to have such broad options for programs, scholarships, and destinations, and even luckier to have the Study Abroad office supporting us every step of the way. Take the opportunity to do something new in a place you’ve never been. Put yourself out of your comfort zone, broaden your horizons, and experience the incredible excitement of knowing that you have the opportunity to both live and learn in another country.
One more thing: worried about the FOMO? Don’t be. Imagine all the stories that you’ll be able to tell when you’re back home. The world is waiting… go see it.