Image from The Broke Backpacker
By LILY BAZIS
OPINION – Leaving the life you know behind to spend a couple weeks to a year in a foreign country may seem daunting to most but could be the adventure of a lifetime for many.
At Salisbury University, the act of studying abroad is no stranger to many students. It seems to be that everyone has either actually studied abroad, or knows someone who has because of how popular it is nowadays.
And this does not just include Salisbury, but all around the world, with students yearning to break free of their usual academic program and explore a whole new way of life, while at the same time getting an education.
Sometimes however, students feel conflicted on whether or not studying abroad is even worth it, in terms of time, money and having to be independent in a brand-new culture, something that can be overwhelming to take on.
But in the end, studying abroad is not only a fun and adventurous experience, it changes a person for the better.
If someone has never been out of the U.S. before, studying abroad would show them the rest of the world. This is especially true if they choose to study in a country in Europe, where neighboring countries can also be easily visited.
Experiencing new customs and cultures is something that you may be able to do in the U.S. to a certain degree, but the complete immersion of oneself into a foreign culture is something you can really only do abroad.
On the education side of things, obtaining an education in a nation other than the U.S. can be extremely beneficial. Since many students have attended school in the U.S. for their entire lives, the sudden shift in teaching and education styles may open someone’s eyes to other sides of their major, or even new career pathways that they might not have seen before.
“Learning about the French culture was very interesting,” junior Camille Supplee said. “It was strange to see the differences and similarities that France and America have in terms of social issues.”
Supplee is a double major in French and media production and studied abroad in France during the fall of 2017.
Another benefit of living for a short time in a foreign country is learning something about yourself that could only have been done by being alone in a brand-new place. Students who study abroad become more independent and open-minded and learn how to adapt to new cultures.
Making new friends is also a huge benefit of studying in a foreign country. Getting to know people of a completely different culture rather than your own is extremely eye-opening, as well as making relationships that could last a lifetime.
These friends could even help you later down the road, say if you were looking for a job or even just a place to stay.
In the end, the pros outweigh the cons of studying abroad, for even the seemingly intimidating price can be managed.
At many universities, including SU, numerous scholarships are available for students looking to go abroad.
And depending on the program and location, many of the studying abroad opportunities are about the same price as a semester at home would be.
“My experience at Costa Rica this past January was absolutely worth the money and time, it was an incredible trip for a fair amount of money,” junior environmental studies and biology major Maggie Praley said. “It was here I completed my biology minor.”
Knowing all this, being given the chance to study abroad is one opportunity that should not be missed. It is the experience of a lifetime and is worth every penny.