It is no surprise that the University of Connecticut can get a bit dull. As vibrant as campus life can get, we are still on a land grant university in the middle of nowhere. It gets more than a bit cold. And you can only see the same set of 20-something-year-olds so many times before you lose it. The perfect solution to all of this? Try studying abroad!
Every student should, within their academic means, try to study abroad at least once. Not only can it be very affordable, but it is a rewarding experience through and through. The fact that more students do not consider this opportunity is beyond disappointing.
College students often fall prey to the trap of being sheltered. Not only have many grown up in rather privileged positions, but many have not lived for extended periods outside of their original home. This is a shame, as it denies them the opportunity to understand the world around them and denies us all the opportunity to work to a more diverse, worldly society.
When people allow themselves to stay sheltered, they don’t understand that the way they are used to the world being is not standard everywhere. Every country on the planet has different customs, laws, environments and lifestyles. Seeing this variety more deeply is the only way for us to be able to make an informed decision on how to move forward in our own society. Studying abroad not only yields a diversity of experiences, but also a resulting diversity of thought.
That is not to say that this sort of abstract sense of world community is the only benefit to studying abroad. It’s a great personal experience as well. You get to learn the food, perhaps learn a foreign language and live the life somewhere that is inevitably much nicer than Storrs, Connecticut. There are so many beautiful places out there to explore, and many of them are fortunately close to a college.
It is also worth mentioning that class options abroad are often much more varied than people think. With some effort, upper level classes can be taken in some education abroad locations. You don’t only have to take gen-eds.
Many different options for studying abroad are available. Oftentimes, studying abroad can be as affordable or more so than a regular semester. This is especially true for exchange programs, where students pay for a UConn tuition for someone else to study in their place – i.e., an exchange.
In total, studying abroad is a chance to do something that will never be as easy as in college — to live and experience somewhere, anywhere, else. What more needs to be said?