We’ve all heard of it and at the very least considered it: study abroad. Take a risk. Take a chance. I’ll present seven reasons why next semester should be the one you finally go.
1) The Same is Boring
I’d been at UFV for four years always convinced I would go abroad…next year. School got repetitive and finally I bit the bullet and applied for Laval Univeristy in Quebec. Life becomes routine in post-secondary and going abroad breaks the norm in the best way possible. I even came back to UFV excited for classes for the first time since I began.
2) New Places, New Faces
Who doesn’t like new? New experiences, new friendships, new Instagram followers. All three will almost certainly occur when studying abroad. I learned so much about the city of Quebec, the sights, the attractions, and the people. Everything was so new to me, like a new chapter in my favourite book. There’s a reason we are attracted to new things: they are fresh, exciting and novel (“novel” is close to “nouvelle” which is the French word for new. Coincidence? I think not…).
3) You Get Free Money
Okay, you shouldn’t go thinking you’ll save money for a semester, but then again, it isn’t near as expensive as students think or expect. Certain universities have thousands of dollars in scholarships available and if you do some research and chat with UFV Study Abroad you will be surprised at how the money is not the obstacle you think it is.
4) You Fly in an Airplane
For me, the flight is a legitimate reason to study abroad. Maybe you don’t hold the same affinity for aircraft and airports as I do, but I know you like new places and landscapes. An airliner will get you there. Usually on time, and always in one piece.
5) You Will Have a Ton of Stories
Next time you are exchanging stories with your friends back home, you’ll have something to say. Probably too much to say. I almost got blown over with my friends in a blizzard after our morning classes. I rode in a horse-drawn sled in more than twenty below. We cross-country skied around a frozen lake. Yes, the Quebecois winter left an impression on me! The stories, the memories and the photos: you won’t believe how much you will get.
6) Laughter Lines
This is different than the fifth reason. It needs its own spot on the list because of how prevalent it will be. You will experience laughter, inside jokes and humour on a daily basis. You can’t make up the sort of things that will make you shake your head and grin…three months later. It’s not always easy; the first few weeks were some of the most challenging of my life. This is normal for studying abroad. Don’t let this scare you away from trying: you will not regret it. And then you’ll laugh more than you thought possible.
7) You Will Make Amazing Friends
Perhaps, you aren’t extremely social and are apprehensive of meeting new people. Ever heard of “baptism by fire”? It’s a French expression that means you are all-in and must learn very quickly. The best part when you are abroad is that many people you meet are in a similar situation: abroad, by themselves, and looking for friends. The best advice I ever got for studying abroad was to go alone. You have no choice other than immersing yourself and meeting truly amazing people. These people will become friends that you keep for the rest of your life. Seriously, I can travel most of Europe for free staying at my friends’ places. Who doesn’t want that?
Bonus) You’ll Grow as a Person
The most underrated aspect of Study Abroad is how much you learn about yourself and grow. I lived in the same house for the past 17 years. The same city. When you leave behind everything you’ve known, you have no choice but to grow. It’s incredible and yet terribly difficult to explain. It’s not something you need to explain. It’s something you know to be true. And when you come back you can’t imagine not having gone. It becomes a part of the fabric that makes up your life.
That’s all! Not really, but hopefully enough that next semester will be the semester you finally decide to Study Abroad. And when you do, you’ll be the one writing “7 Reasons to Study Abroad: My Edition”.
Raymond Kobes went abroad to Laval University in Fall of 2017. He is a French major and Business minor at UFV.