When it comes to studying abroad, I’d like to think of myself as a seasoned veteran. With two school-sponsored foreign language trips during my high school years, I had already been around the block a few times when it comes to traveling for something other than simply a vacation by the time I graduated. Before I had even left for college, (We are… Penn State!) I had my mind made up about spending a semester abroad – it was an absolute must.
So sure enough, as the beginning of my sophomore year rolled around, I found myself beginning to research online, attending education abroad fairs and meeting with my academic advisor to discuss my options as far as spending a semester away from Penn State in a foreign country. Little did I know, there were so many things to factor in – location, cost, language, time frame, application deadlines – I had no idea so much was involved in preparing to study abroad.
Eventually I muddled through the research and application process, and landed myself a ticket to Florence, Italy! I spent four wonderful months in Europe during the spring of my junior year. Of course I had my reservations, not knowing a single phrase in Italian, but I can tell you this: I learned more and grew more in those four months than I ever had before. I returned home having learned a great deal of the language, with a new appreciation for food (and wine!) and seven new stamps on my passport.
So, University 101 readers, whether you’re considering studying abroad, wondering how to possibly prepare for your own voyage overseas, or living vicariously through my journey, if you promise to read, I promise to tell you all there is to know – the good, the not-so-good and everything in between, no holds barred. I can’t wait to share with you all that I’ve learned, and I truly hope it will help you with your own study abroad experience, whatever it may be!