Ask Anna: Studying abroad

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Q: Dear Anna, I’ve been thinking about studying abroad, but I haven’t decided whether or not I want to go. What are your thoughts about studying abroad?

A: Do it. That’s as simple as it gets.

Spending time in another country is something that, I feel, is crucial to the human experience. And why not do it while you’re in school— where it’s cheaper, you’ll spend more time abroad and you’ll get way more of an educational experience?

While the idea of spending a large chunk of time away from home, family and friends can be a bit intimidating, I can say from personal experience that studying abroad was one of the most amazing and awe-inspiring things I’ve ever done. And yes, it will change your life.

The best advice that I can give to you is to let go of whatever it is that is hanging you up about making the decision. There hasn’t been a single person I’ve met who has studied abroad through Illinois Wesleyan University and hasn’t absolutely loved every minute of it.

Unless you land the job of everyone’s dreams and are able to travel the world at your whim, you’re probably never going to get an opportunity like this again. Colleges and universities make spending time in another country much easier than it is to do on your own— and you’ll be getting an education while you’re doing it.

If you’re going to study abroad, go big or stay home. May Term courses can be appealing because of their short duration, but you’ll end up paying just as much for three weeks worth of travel and expenses as you would for an entire semester abroad. Save your money and savor your time—do it for the full semester.

A semester allows for enough time to acclimate to the lifestyle of your new country and even become comfortable and functional in it. Spending a few months away from your friends and family will give you a chance to grow individually and independently, and I can almost guarantee that you won’t come back the same as you were before you left.

For many of us, the opportunity to go abroad will only be available during our time at IWU. Don’t give yourself the chance to regret missing out on the experience of a lifetime— sign up to study abroad. You won’t regret it.