Spotlight on Study Abroad

By The Beacon | September 11, 2014 3:00am

This is the beginning of an ongoing series where students share their study abroad experiences and why other students should pursue the same opportunity. By Cassie Sheridan

Many harp on the basic advantages of studying abroad: the various countries you can visit, the incredible friendships you will make and cities that will become your second home. These are all true and positive things about the study abroad experience. However, there’s a less talked about, less rhetorically-developed benefit of studying abroad. And that’s the impact on you, the very real human person that will be journeying across the globe. The reality is that despite of all the people around you, all those crazy nights you’ll have, all the cities you’ll travel through, and the exquisite food you’ll savor, you still will go to bed every night and wake up each morning with yourself. This is a terrifying thing to realize as your world becomes bigger and bigger and you feel smaller and smaller. However, this is the best thing you’ll ever learn - and that relationship with yourself will be life-altering. This expansion of the mind will take place when you’re lost amongst canals in Amsterdam, or while admiring an original Rodin sculpture, or mid-conversation with an Australian aboriginal or some irritable Brits in a London pub. These are the things that will make you better understand the world and yourself. You will develop into someone greater. The other benefits of study abroad are just gravy. Being separate from what you know, whether it be your family, your friends or your city, forces you to develop independently. These alterations of your understanding of self will be more substantial than you’ll believe possible. So take advantage of this opportunity for self-growth. Don’t be afraid of feeling alone. Don’t be afraid of the distance from your normal. Embrace that difference. Read the stories of others’ study abroad experiences. Seek out people who have gone before you. But above all, apply.