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Is studying abroad really worth it?

gingeralelovergingeralelover Registered User Posts: 194 Junior Member
edited January 2014 in Study Abroad
I feel like four years is really short and missing a semester would mean you'd miss out opportunities to build long-term relationships with professors on campus. What are people's thoughts on this?
Post edited by gingeralelover on
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Replies to: Is studying abroad really worth it?

  • wrathofachilleswrathofachilles Registered User Posts: 772 Member
    Studying abroad can also broaden your perspective, let you experience another culture and meet people you never would have otherwise come into contact with, and crucially, give you a chance to gain mastery of a foreign language.

    Remember though that not all study abroad programs are created equal. The most popular country for study abroad, last time I checked, was the United Kingdom, and a six week London Pub Crawl is almost worthless in terms of educational value. However, if on the other hand a student interested in Latin America goes to Chile and takes classes at a local university in Spanish, chances are he will greatly benefit not only academically, but also personally.
  • morrismmmorrismm Registered User Posts: 3,559 Senior Member
    OP, I understand what you are saying and have felt the same way. Why would you try so hard to get in to a school only to leave for a semester or year.

    But two of my children did semesters abroad that were wonderful experiences. They had (different for the two) great academic experiences and an opportunity to travel different countries and experience different cultures.

    When do you get this chance again?

    BTY, D1 attended an Ivy and D2 attends a top LAC. D2's program put her in with students from colleges all over the country. There were under 30 in her program for the semester. They were-- 2 from Harvard, one from Penn., Brown, Duke, Georgetown, 2 from Bucknell, 2 from GW, etc. Obviously these students were from top schools. They thought it was worth giving up a semester at the home school.
  • gingeralelovergingeralelover Registered User Posts: 194 Junior Member
    morrismm: Do you mind if I ask where they went?
  • morrismmmorrismm Registered User Posts: 3,559 Senior Member
    D1 was an intern at the International Labor Organization (an affiliate of the United Nations) in Geneva, Switzerland. Internships at the ILO are not usually available for undergrads. My D1's labor school is considered near or at the top in the nation, so her school has an arrangement with the ILO to place undergrads. She also took classes at her school in the USA via satellite. This was arranged by her school and the ILO.

    D2 studied with SIT-World Learning. SIT has programs all over the world. Because of my D2's major, environmental studies with a special interest in policy, she too ended up selecting a program that was based in Geneva.

    Just a coincidence as both went to two different schools, had different majors and were in different programs.

    If you are interested in a particular area of the world, look at SIT. It is located in many, many places. It has interesting and accomplished alumni including Sargent Shriver--founder of the Peace Corps.
  • cloudman7777cloudman7777 Registered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
    You can always do a study abroad program during the summer
  • keepittoyourselfkeepittoyourself Registered User Posts: 1,546 Senior Member
    I think most study abroad is a waste of time (and money).
  • cristilinecristiline Registered User Posts: 245 Junior Member
    Depends on what you want to do in the future. If you're going to be an engineer and don't want to leave the United States, it may not be worth it.
  • gingeralelovergingeralelover Registered User Posts: 194 Junior Member
    Thanks everyone for the range of opinions.
  • Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley Founder Posts: 106,392 Senior Member
    Any time spent abroad, particularly in a culture that's quite different, will be enriching. I'd weigh the specifics of the program against the on-campus experience. If you have a full schedule of amazing classes with must-have profs, or are involved in great ECs, internships, etc., then perhaps taking time out to go abroad isn't worth it.

    On the other hand, if you are looking at a sea of boring lecture classes in which all your contact will be with TAs, then trying to squeeze in time abroad might be a great choice.
  • hazelorbhazelorb Registered User Posts: 3,240 Senior Member
    I didn't study abroad and I don't have any regrets. I did hold down 2 jobs and a slew of wonderful ECs in addition to building lifelong relationships with friends and professors, which would have been hindered if I went abroad (my jobs/activities were year long commitments). If I had wanted to go abroad, I definitely would have gone during the summer. It might have been a better use of time than how I spent my summers here, actually, but I don't really regret relaxing my summers away in the US. ;)
  • Knights09Knights09 Registered User Posts: 1,739 Senior Member
    Not everyone is looking to build long-term relationships with professors.
  • mom in virginiamom in virginia Registered User Posts: 460 Member
    if you want to go, go. If you are ambivalent, there are reasons enough to stay: you may very well get out of the swing of things back at your school with your major and/or with roommate/housing arrangements. (this spoken as a mom who spent a semester abroad--it was good but it wasn't fabulous.) My son is doing a month this summer in lieu of a semester.
  • goose7856goose7856 Registered User Posts: 529 Member
    I highly suggest studying abroad. It is an enriching experience that expands a person's horizon and can be a truly redefining experience if the student takes full advantage of the opportunity.
  • aesthetics5aesthetics5 Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    I was fortunate enough to complete two summer study abroad programs (one long and one short term). Let me say this, they are a ton of fun BUT most students do not utilize them well for personal growth and learning. I would not suggest the common study abroad countries such as UK and Ireland, since culture is quite similar and students love to attend pubs at night; rather, go to a more exotic location where you will be forced to adapt and learn! Try to speak with students and professors as much as possible, you will forever cherish those small conversations about life and culture with a person you will probably never see again. Travel itself is wonderful, I think everyone in college should be forced to travel rather than take so many useless electives. It will open your mind up. Again all of these outcomes occur ONLY if you put the time in, and try to experience a new culture and push your boundaries. Have an adventure everyday, try something new, or talk to a total stranger (be smart of course) and study abroad will be the best experience of your life yet!

    One word of advice though, try to find a large study abroad trip. The more students the better, since it is very easy to get stuck in a boring group. you cannot control this obviously, just from personal experience. In the end though everyone will be friends, since you have to work together to explore the country and make the most of the experience.

    There are hundreds of programs, so I am sure you can find something. Look into the SIT programs, wish I could complete one they look absolutely wonderful!

    Hope this helps!
  • HonorsCentaurHonorsCentaur Registered User Posts: 1,666 Senior Member
    Usually top universities have the best study abroad programs!
    I think it's worth it, especially if it doesn't interfere with your degree.
This discussion has been closed.