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Fun vs Functionality

StudyaboardStudyaboard Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
edited July 17 in Study Abroad
Hi, I'm a rising sophomore and a geology major who's looking into different semester abroad programs. There are two that I'm interested in, one in Denmark and one in New Zealand. The one in NZ is an extremely good program for geology, involving research projects, field camp (which is a great resume booster in geo), and good geology courses. The program in Denmark, meanwhile, doesn't offer any courses that I could count towards my major, but they look very enjoyable. This isn't a huge deal for me, as I can still easily graduate in 4 years with either program.

The problem is that I'm very interested in the Denmark program because the possibility of studying abroad in Europe excites me a lot. I love the idea of being able to live on such a multicultural continent for 5 months, where a ferry or train ride that lasts a few hours can take me to cultures and landscapes that are nothing like what I've just left or ever seen. Besides that, the classes look pretty fun. They are related to geology and environmental science, but they wouldn't add much to my transcript. The New Zealand program, however, would look fantastic. I would be doing things that would look very appealing to grad schools and potential employers. Most importantly, it would include field camp, which costs thousands of dollars through most programs, but wouldn't cost me anything extra because my college covers expenses for programs abroad. I also think it would give me a lot of good experience and networking opportunities, being surrounded by fellow geology students and immersed in a geo-focused environment. But New Zealand is an island nation in the middle of the Pacific, with nothing nearby except Australia. I would be getting a great education, but the spirit of study abroad, multiculturalism, and broadening my world view wouldn't be present. I would like it, but I don't think I would enjoy it as much as Denmark.

I can't do undergrad research during school, it just doesn't work with my schedule. I do intend to do a research based internship next summer, so I should still have some experience either way. My grades thus far have been very good, and I imagine they won't be too bad in the future, either. So regardless of what I do, I should still look alright to grad schools/employers. Right now I plan to work after graduation and then maybe (very likely if my mindset is the same as it is now) apply for graduate school a few years later. Still, I might change my mind by the time I reach senior year, so I want to act in a way that benefits either plan. So, would it be better for me to go for the more "fun" option or the one that looks better on resumes and applications?

Replies to: Fun vs Functionality

  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 7,007 Senior Member
    edited July 17
    Go to NZ, no question. It IS a very different culture, and NZ is a fascinating place. I went there twice, and it's like being in Jurassic Park, except without the dinosaurs. I have travelled all over the world and NZ is one of my favorites. The problem with NZ is that is really is a schlep to get to, and in your adult life, you may find that the opportunity to visit will not present itself again. Europe is relatively easy to get to. It's not going anywhere. You are young once, so do some back packing after you graduate. Or go during the summer. You can see a LOT of Europe in just a few weeks, and as you still have three years of college, there is plenty of time to explore Europe.

    I love Europe, but frankly, you see one castle, you see them all.:-) As Australia is close to NZ, you can go there too. I wouldn't give up seeing Ayers Rock or the Great Barrier Reef for anything. Or the underground cave tubing in NZ, where you float into a cave illuminated with bioluminescent glowworms. Or the glaciers. Or the extreme sports. Or the Coromandel Peninsula. Or the chance to go to Rarotonga, which is a short flight away. Or a rugby game, with the players doing the Haka before it starts. Or the amazing beaches. You will not get anything like that in Europe.

    The opportunity in NZ is too good to pass up, and I guarantee you will regret missing this chance to have an amazing time AND add something valuable to your future career prospects. I went to college, worked, saved up money, and went all over Europe while I was in my early 20s, before I had a career, responsibilities, and then kids. Trust me, you will love NZ. It's an amazing place and you may never get a chance to go back.

    P.S. Just becasue they speak English deosn't mean they don't have their own culture. There is a big emphasis on Maori culture in NZ too. And you have access to the South Pacific. The world is not just descended from European culture.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 4,297 Senior Member
    I'm with @Lindagaf. Even if you don't stay with geology your time in NZ will stay with you. The people are great and there is more to see than you will actually ever get to! and if you actually like your subject, NZ is an amazing place for geology. The field camp opportunity will offset not having research experience. And getting to the anitpodes from the US is much tougher than getting to Europe.

    plus, Hobbiton.....
  • StudyaboardStudyaboard Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Alright, these are very compelling arguments for New Zealand, and I'm definitely starting to lean more towards it now.

    @Lindagaf, I think that's a very good point about Europe being much more accessible. And many of the things you mention DO sound too good to pass up.

    I'll definitely be thinking about this more in the upcoming months and fully welcome anymore arguments/advice from anyone about what they think is best.
  • chzbrgrchzbrgr Registered User Posts: 162 Junior Member
    Go to New Zealand because it seems like unlike most study abroad, it will actually be academically useful to you.

    Take a real vacation to Denmark.
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