Why I Wish I Studied Abroad

I’ve wanted to go to France since I was 8 years old. I remember watching Disney Channel in my room in the dark when the channel aired a commercial spot with the stars of the time talking about foreign languages. America Ferrera came on screen and said that she loved French because she liked the way it “rolled off the tongue.” I’m not sure if I proceeded to listen to people speaking French or if I simply remembered this when I chose to take French in 6th grade, but since I have been hooked.

Overall, I like change and exploration. I believe there’s so much of the world to be seen beyond our backyards, and even our country. I chose to go to college out of state because I desperately needed a complete change of scenery from my hometown area. I thought my college experience would yield an abroad experience as well, but unfortunately that vision did not become my reality.

Although my dream is to go to France, I would’ve enjoyed going to anywhere in Europe (mostly because of the simple travel from country to country in Europe that could’ve allowed me to easily go to France). Every now and then, I would go on the study abroad website to look up the opportunities for a certain semester. One time, I even tried to convince my mom to let me do an internship abroad the summer before my senior year. Needless to say, that didn’t go well.

It never felt like the right time to go abroad. Freshman year was too early. Sophomore year was trying to situate my place at Carolina. Junior year was finally enjoying my time here. Senior year was well…senior year. Then my time was up.

I feel very fortunate to have had a very well-rounded Carolina experience. At some point, I’ve involved myself in basically every quintessential Carolina/college experience from being an Orientation Leader to a Carolina Fever director to rushing Franklin Street after a basketball win to joining a sorority. Nevertheless, I still wish I would’ve taken a leap of faith and studied abroad.

Now that I’m genuinely coming to terms with my upcoming real adult life, I’m realizing that there won’t be many more times that I can choose to go abroad for 5 months at a time. Things just seem to get more complicated once you leave school. I’m fortunate to work for a company with international opportunities but it’s not quite the same experience. It’ll take a lot more planning, effort, saving, and work.

I still plan on seeing the world at some capacity, by no means is studying abroad the only option. In fact, I’ll be making a Europe trip post-graduation with a few friends to finally reach that dream. But for anyone who is debating going abroad – do it.

*In fact, my teacher Gary literally just said if you didn’t study abroad during college that’s a huge mistake. Bummer.

 

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