I remember when I first came up with the idea of double majoring in Marketing and International Business, studying abroad seemed like a great idea. After all, it seemed like so many people I know had done it and loved it, why wouldn’t I?
So I did some research, applied and was accepted to study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It wasn’t until after I got my acceptance email that I started thinking about all the reasons I shouldn’t have applied and wondering if I made the right decision.
The quick answer? I would study abroad again in a second if I had the opportunity. It was, without a doubt, the best decision I’ve made since being accepted into the business school.
I was definitely beginning to freak out as I got ready to go through security and begin my adventure in Argentina!
So to help calm any nerves you have about studying abroad, here are three reasons you might stress about it (and why you shouldn’t):
- I’m going to miss my family and friends, and I’m going to miss out on five months of my life: This was the hardest hurdle for me to jump. When you’re getting ready to hop on the plane you feel like you’re saying goodbye to everything. What you might not realize right away though is that your story isn’t ending just because you don’t have your friends and family, it’s just beginning! Studying abroad doesn’t mean you are just going to miss out on everything, it means you’re going to be creating everlasting memories with a group of people who are equally crazy and willing to pick up their lives and start over for a few months. Also, when you have the time, it’s easy to keep in contact with friends and family, thanks to Facebook, Whatsapp and blogging, among other resources. I truly believe that even if you miss your friends and family, you’ll never regret creating your unique study abroad story!
- I’m going to miss the United States and the ways of life that I’m used to: If you don’t worry about it beforehand, you’ll definitely think about it once you arrive in another country. The rest of the world works so differently from the United States and it’s an adventure to learn other countries’ ways of living. However, this has allowed me to really appreciate all that the United States does so well (for example, knowing what classes you can choose from so far in advance) and become aware of other ways of solving issues. You’ll probably miss aspects of your life back home, but you still get to go back there in four to six months anyway, so it’s easy to soak up the time you’ve got.
- I’m not going to fit in and I will probably feel weird the entire time: Well, it’s true. If you’re an American it’s likely you won’t fit in during your time in Argentina. But that’s half the fun of it! Learning to be a minority of sorts has been humbling and given me great insight into how the United States is culturally and socially. Although you won’t fit in, you will still start to feel like you belong where you are and that will comfort you enough to enjoy where you are. Plus, you learn to rely on other Americans whom you can talk to about anything related to this and will understand how you feel.
I’ve made some friends here that I am sure I will talk to for the rest of my life. Your friendship with people who study abroad is so unique! (We took this on our six day trip to Patagonia!)
Like I said, studying abroad has been one of the most important things I have ever done. I haven’t regretted a day of it and I’ve learned so much about the United States, the world and myself.
It’s great to wake up one day and realize that now you have another home away from home in a completely different part of the world. So if you’re scared to take the leap, just go for it and figure out your plan on the way down.