The logistics of studying abroad while in college

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Michael Boyle | Staff Writer

Why should you study abroad? The real question is, why not? You are the youngest and least tied down you will ever be.

I had the opportunity to spend an entire semester studying in Bangor, Wales. While there, I was also able to visit Scotland, England, Ireland, Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, and Greece. It would take far too long to explain all of the fun I had, so instead let me share a few general reasons why you should study abroad in college.

1) It helps you grow. Spend anywhere from a few days to an entire semester in another country, and it will open your eyes to so many things. Everything from how college life is different to the things that make the local people unique, plus new cultures help broaden our minds and make us better people. Once you start traveling, it becomes incredibly difficult to stop.

2) It will never be easier. Logistically, it makes sense for you to travel now. In 5 to 10 years, you will likely have a full-time job and perhaps even a family to support. If not, traveling independently after college still requires you to finance everything: travel, lodging, food, and fun. While at Buena Vista University (BVU), you simply pay the school as if you were taking classes in Storm Lake, but you live abroad. Most programs include housing and some even include food, making it that much more affordable. Plus, students have more opportunities to take advantage of scholarships and stipends to help cover flights and other expenses. If all else fails, a small loan (that you likely won’t have to pay back until after graduation) can give you the trip of a lifetime.

3) It brings perspective. Different languages, foods, clothing, social problems, and more. While studying abroad, you are constantly reminded that life in America is not the entire world. You are occasionally forced outside of your comfort zone, which is not a bad place to be. Think about the most rewarding experiences of your life. You never get to that reward without a little bit of discomfort. You may be content with your life now, but it can only get better by seeing the world.

4) It is fun! If I have not convinced you yet, take this final piece of advice. Studying abroad is a blast. While abroad, I saw and did so many things that weren’t possible in the United States. I even played competitive basketball for Bangor University – because let’s be honest, I’m just not good enough to play in America. I saw cathedrals older than America itself – not to mention St. Peter’s Basilica, which is the most intricate piece of architecture. I ate all kinds of good, different food, I made friends, and I have stories to last a lifetime and a lifetime to share them, and it is all because I made the decision to study abroad while in college.

Whether it be during spring break, interim, summer, or a full semester, look for the chance to travel. Buena Vista University has so many opportunities for you to experience new things. As you travel the world, it will give you a dual appreciation of what you never knew and what you call home.