10 Things You Learn When You (Don’t) Study Abroad

1. That there is no topic in the universe that people love more than how much they were changed by their time in another country. Though you acknowledge this is most likely true, you also realize:

2. Travel is not something you have to do in just a semester. You can live in another country after you graduate, you can spend the rest of your life traveling if you want. Doing so during college may be convenient for some people, but it is not the end all of traveling opportunities.

3. This isn’t applicable to everyone, but you often have a bit more experience (by the way of holding higher leadership positions for longer or being at different internships in different roles) to bring to the table when you’re in pursuit of a post-grad job. I know many people who weren’t able to hold certain roles especially at school-associated organizations/jobs, which by nature are more dignifying than something that may not actually add to your marketability if such a role were related to your area of study or interest. (This assumes that your desired career does not require you having international experience, in which case, it would be null and void.)

4. The most annoying thing on God’s green earth is how often people post photos of buildings you could google if you wanted to see, update their travel blogs about nights out with new friends that you genuinely don’t care about and overall feel that people are more interested than they actually are, though no one has the heart to tell them the truth.

5. That the extra thousands of dollars that people take out in debt to be able to afford their expenses is not something that seems worth it to you. Will you look back in a few years and really feel that month in Australia was worth the 15 years you will spend paying half your paycheck for it?

6. Though you are inundated by all the reasons study abroad is crucial and incredible (nay on the former, probably on the latter), you are proof that you can actually come out of your college experience happy though never having gone out of the country (I hadn’t even thought about the fact that I never studied abroad until I sat down to write this, so I can say honestly, I definitely don’t regret it).

7. That travel is a lovely, lovely thing, but it’s not for everybody and doesn’t need to be. People regard it as this universally desired thing, but that’s simply not true.

8. That the worst part of it all is probably watching your friends go and having campus feel empty and weird without them.

9. That you have the unique advantage of never having to deal with the whole “where am I living and with who” thing upon your return and you’ll never have to come back to a place that once felt like home but has since changed drastically since you’ve been gone, and to friends who seemed to go on to form bonds without you.

10. That life does not begin or end in college. That you maybe chose opportunities that were unique to your situation as opposed to the commonality of studying in another country. That even if you feel regret initially, that usually wanes off and you forget, and you realize that there is no “right” or “best” way to do anything, simply because every path is different, and yours led you here. TC Mark

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