After studying abroad for the fall semester in Prague, Czech Republic, and before that for a month this past summer in Salzburg, Austria, I am convinced that every college student needs to study abroad during their time in college. I am extremely grateful that I have had these two opportunities and wouldn’t change any part of them for the world. Whether it be a week-long trip, a summer, a semester, or a full year, studying abroad is one of the highlights of the college experience. In this post, I’m sharing my top reasons why you should study abroad as well as some of my favorite photographs from the trip.
Make lifelong friends and memories.
Now that I am back on U.S. soil, and with the spirit of Thanksgiving behind us and the joy of Christmas upon us, I can’t stop thinking about how grateful I am to have studied twice in Europe. One of the best things about my trips was forming relationships with other students and making countless, amazing memories with them. When you study abroad, you will make friends that you will spend a lot of time with and make memories, stories, and inside jokes.
Learn about your own country from a new perspective.
It was interesting to meet other people from different countries and see their reactions when I told them I was “American.” Being abroad helped me to appreciate parts of the United States that I had otherwise not really thought about, and it showed me how unique America is in some aspects. Being in Prague helped me strengthen my idea of my own culture, while providing me with the opportunity to be completely immersed in the Czech culture.
Get out of your comfort zone.
Studying abroad presents lots of experiences and situations that you cannot prepare for in any way. When I reflect on this reason, a couple of scenarios popped into my head. Stranded at a bus station in Budapest with no knowledge of Hungarian? Check. Knowing absolutely no Czech and trying to grocery shop for the week? Check. (no pun intended this time) Almost getting run over multiple times by cyclists in Amsterdam? Check. Studying in a brand new city for three months gives you lots of chances to get out of your comfort zone and teaches you so much about yourself in the process.
Travel all over so easily.
Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to explore so many new towns, cities, and countries. For example, Europe is so accessible with numerous bus, train, and airlines that will take you from country to country for pretty cheap fares. I was able to take four weekend trips during my time in Prague to places all over Europe. You definitely would not have this opportunity to visit so many countries in such a short amount of time if you did not study abroad.
Thank you so much to everyone who followed the Prague Blog this semester. It was so fun to share with you a glimpse of our study abroad experience, and I hope you learned something and/or were inspired by our posts each week. I am so grateful to have had this experience and I will remember it for the rest of my life!