Yes, you read that right.
No one should graduate college without studying abroad. Studying abroad opens your eyes and will change the way you see the world. Experiences that you have while studying abroad don’t even hold a candle to partying at a frat house or tailgating before a football game. Try taking off to a new country every weekend, such as Spain or Italy. Or soak up local culture by regularly visiting museums, cafes, and practicing your language skills. And let’s be honest, the clubs and parties are wayyy better abroad (you won’t even bother with Greek life after this…)
So when I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain during college, it was the highlight of my college days. The experiences I had, the lifelong friendships I made, and the places I went, are priceless.
so here is my reasoning for…
Why No One Should Graduate College Without Studying Abroad
Traveling is much more accessible
No matter where you study abroad, whether it’s Spain, South Africa, Chile or Japan, international travel is at the palm of your hand. Weekends can be spent in a different country and it’s so fun to jet off after class to a new place! Best thing is that new destinations are easily accessible by train, bus or a quick flight.
And It’s also so much more affordable – which is PERFECT for living on a student budget!! Budget airlines & hostels are perfect for college kids limited on funds and wanting to travel. Bonus – it’s so fun to meet travelers from all over the world!
During my month-long study abroad in Madrid, I also spent time exploring Lisbon, Porto, Marrakech, and Toledo. Before getting to Madrid, I backpacked through Europe, hitting up London, Paris, Switzerland, South of France, Florence, Rome and Barcelona.
You make lifelong friends
There’s a big difference between “lifers” & “party friends”. During my college days, I had a lot of friends that I’d go to parties and bars with. While that is all good and all, nothing compares to “lifers”, or lifelong friends. One of my roommates in Madrid quickly became one of bff’s after seeing that we had the same items in our shopping cart: wine, cheese, bread and chocolate. We’re so close, that we’ve been in each others weddings and have traveled to over four continents together! Study abroad friends make for amazing travel partners, even when you get home!
Learn a new language (or at least try to!)
When I studied abroad in Madrid, I tried whenever possible to practice my Spanish. While my Spanish wasn’t the best, it was still fun to practice my skills with locals. Even though English is widely spoken in Madrid, the little bit of practice I got was still beneficial, even if it was just “uno mas cerveza por favor.”
Exposure to cultural diversity
When removed from the comforts of home, you’ll need to learn to adapt to your surroundings and this may ensue culture shock on some level. Your new home may speak a different language, be predominately religious (think Islamic countries), or dramatically under developed than home. All of this (even though unexpected), will help you appreciate cultural diversity and tolerance. It’s amazing what living in a different country, and culture, can do to open your eyes to the world!
The Food & Wine
Ok, I think food and wine is at the top of every travelers reasons for traveling. And I mean, can you blame us? Having pasta in Italy or sangria in Spain is amazing because you’re having the real deal! Ask your teachers for local favorite spots & avoid anything too touristy!
Expand your comfort zone
This is a biggie, especially for me. I didn’t know anyone in my study abroad program, so I had to be more outgoing than usual to meet people. And you know?? It wasn’t scary at all! My confidence grew abundantly during my time abroad. I began going on runs by myself in Madrid and eating alone in restaurants..(the horror!! lol). I began doing things for me when I felt like it and enjoyed my own company. Your boundaries will definitely pushed, but embrace the change! It does wonders for you!
You’ll get bit by the travel bug
No doubt about it, you’ll be booking your next trip as soon as you get home. OR you may not even return home! Since my study abroad, I’ve traveled to 20 additional countries and 3 continents. Hell, I even write about it! Traveling is addictive and once you get your first taste of it, it’s hard to quit.
Life gets crazy after college
Not to put a damper on things, but adulting can be hard, y’all. Whether you choose a full time career, grad school, marriage and kids, adult responsibilities can make it hard to travel whenever you want. Take advantage of having little to no responsibilities and travel when your young and free! I have traveled a ton since my study abroad days, but not quite with as much inhibition and freedom as I did in my early 20’s. I had to wait to acquire PTO (paid time off) and use it strategically around my work schedule. So take it from me, don’t miss the chance to live it up and travel during your college days! Plus, you get to experience hostel and backpacker life, which is basically an initiation into world travel!
Don’t miss out of studying abroad in college
You won’t regret it…