Ah, college. It’s now been a year and a half since I got my diploma, cleaned out my off-campus apartment, and bid adieu to my sometimes home for four years. While my experience had a lot of highs and a lot of lows, one of the things I’m most grateful to my alma mater for is the opportunity to spend not just one, but two semesters outside of the country. Hands down some of the best experiences of my life, and I would not have had reason or means to go without my college. With that said, I obviously started a travel website, and I’ve been living abroad since graduation, so I’m not the person to talk to if you’re trying to convince yourself to never leave the country. However, in an effort to see both sides of the situation, I thought I’d sit down and write a list-friendly article about why maybe you should not study abroad. Here ya go.
10. Don’t study abroad if you’ve got money issues.
Can’t and won’t budget? In debt to the bank, your parents, your grandparents, your best friends, the guy on the street you borrowed $5 to buy McDonalds with? Unaware and unwilling to learn about currency rates? Unwilling to take on extra hours at a part-time job or even get a part-time job? If you have money issues and aren’t willing to be proactive about fixing them, studying abroad is not going to make that any better.
9. Don’t study abroad if you get so homesick, you cry every night.
Everyone goes through homesickness even a little bit. However if you were visiting home every weekend at college, and you still miss mom and dad, then leaving the country for months at a time might not be a good idea. It’s no bueno to be glued to your computer trying to get Skype to work every day, and you will annoy the living shit out of your friends if you continuously whine about missing home. If you can imagine yourself crying every night over a picture of your dog for four months straight, I suggest staying at home. Also maybe working out some of those anxieties.
8. Don’t study abroad if you’re racist.
Gosh, I sincerely hope you’re not reading this blog if you’re racist. I don’t think I need to elaborate on this one too much, but if you’re racist, just stay home. Also maybe re-evaluate how good your college education is that you’re still racist as a 18-21-year-old in today’s society.
7. Don’t study abroad if you’ve got serious FOMO.
Fear of missing out. Ah, yes, if you have uncontrollable, inconsolable, anxiety-ridden FOMO, you should probably stay at college. If you don’t think castle hopping, exploring structures hundreds of years old, or clubbing until 6 a.m. is going to make that blurry picture of your friends at a bar hurt less, then don’t leave. It’s one thing to have a little FOMO, but it’s another to let it eat you alive. Stay with your friends. Also maybe talk to someone about your FOMO and its possible correlation to your social media activity.
6. Don’t study abroad if you want to fall in love.
You should never want to travel solely to fall in love with someone in another country. That’s just weirdly naive at best and slightly calculating at worst. And so not what studying abroad and traveling is all about. Yes, people fall in love, but people can fall in love swiping right on Tinder. A different country isn’t going to make that much of a difference. Don’t study abroad if you plan on husband/wife hunting the whole time.
5. Don’t study abroad if you’ve 100% “found” yourself.
It’s obviously expected that you find your long, lost self in that time you spent abroad as a college student. If you don’t return from your stint fully enlightened and ready to spread your wisdom, then did you even study abroad? If you’ve already found yourself, there is no need to ever leave the country. Heck, you don’t even need to leave your town.
4. Don’t study abroad if you want to be close-minded.
Oh man, if you want to be close-minded, travel is not for you. Don’t do it. Whatever you do beware of studying abroad forever. It’ll only open your mind.
3. Don’t study abroad if the thought of missing practice worries you.
If you’re a collegiate athlete and the thought of missing out on part of the season or training worries you to death, don’t study abroad. Your athletic career probably isn’t going to affect you after you graduate (unless you’re going to go pro or compete in the Olympics), and in fact will benefit you little in the long run, but if it’s so important that you’d rather skip out on trying new food, seeing history books come to life, and meeting people from around the world… Then stay right on campus and get ye to the gym, pool, or field ASAP.
2. Don’t study abroad if you can’t be separated from your best friends, boyfriend, or girlfriend.
If you think your besties won’t be your besties when you return home, than maybe you should stay with them. And if your boyfriend or girlfriend threatens to break-up with you if you leave the country, then maybe stay close by their side. However, while you’re not studying abroad, you may want to re-evaluate just how healthy these relationships are.
1. Don’t study abroad if you’re not studying a foreign language, foreign affairs, or something international.
By all means, I studied English and Hispanic Studies in college, what a waste it would be for me to want to learn about microbiology! A science major interested in history? What?! Keep those interests in one small box and stay focused. If you’re not studying something with foreign or international in the title, than it would be such a waste of time and money to study abroad. You’re really just saving your career at this point.
What do you think? What are some reasons you don’t think students should study abroad?
Photographs and Words by Samantha
**Full disclosure just in case it wasn’t obvious, this article was pretty sarcastic. Obviously, I know there are legitimate reasons why people can’t go abroad, but considering the point of this blog is travel, I’m obviously a big proponent for studying abroad. There are so many different options–full year, full semester, summer/winter programs, spring break programs, and more that if you even have a small desire to do one, you can. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.