The study abroad process and expense are worth it

The study abroad process and expense are worth it

The study abroad process and expense are worth it
June 24
17:20 2018

Despite college being one of the most expensive and hectic experiences a person can have, it warrants some space for travel — specifically, studying abroad.

Not that going abroad at this critical point in life is for everyone, or that it should be for everyone, but it should be an option available to everyone.

The experiences study abroad brings go so far beyond the fun and exhilaration of it all. Study abroad reframes your way of thinking, behaving and existing. It flips the way you view the world and human interaction, making you rethink the way you’ve always done things and the reasons why.

I know this because two weeks into my London study abroad experience, I’ve already learned and changed so much.

Yeah yeah, call me cliche or whatever, but I believe it to be true. I grew up crossing the border into Mexico with my family almost twice a year — a completely different world only a couple of miles from the border. But being abroad over an ocean and in a land where customs and interaction are its own secret language, I’ve learned so much about myself and where I come from.

Going to Mexico, I had cultural know-how and my own little Mexico at home from which to reference. Coming to London, I’ve had to start from scratch. And it’s been terrifying. The culture shock has made me appreciate the people who raised me, the land my feet have walked over for most of my life and the culture of my homeland. At the same time, it’s broadened my understandings of the people I thought could be nothing like me.

Study abroad should be more readily accessible so every student has the opportunity to have these valuable, life-changing experiences.

The study abroad process is months long and often disorganized. It’s complicated and lengthy because of the inefficiency of communication networks between most of the school departments. The system is rife with mistakes, causing the student to devote extra effort ensuring the system and staff are doing their parts correctly to get everything settled for this momentous and expensive chapter of the student’s life.

Study abroad requires information from the study abroad office, the financial aid office, the registrar, department advisors and more. This is a lot of back and forth, and a lot to stay on top of.

Some might ask why a student wouldn’t want to avoid all the rigmarole and just travel to that country instead of having to take classes while there.

With hopefully more than a few scholarships, grants and loans, study abroad is the only opportunity for a student to visit and learn in a new country for longer than a few days. Traveling through the study abroad program provides students financial aid options to make the trip possible.

Study abroad should be available to every student hoping to learn a few lessons from life and travel.

Featured illustration by Elizabeth Rhoden.

About Author

Maritza Ramos

Maritza Ramos

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