I am supposed to tell you in roughly five hundred words or less why you should study in a foreign country at some point during your college career. You are probably expecting me to outline the standard reasons that one normally gives, i.e., the educational benefits that accompany it, the competitive advantage it gives you in the workforce, or the huge resume booster. While all of these positives are motivating factors that one should strongly consider when deciding to embark on such a journey, I can assure you that they are not the number one reason.
When reflecting on my own experience overseas, I had a difficult time pinpointing the “best” part of the trip. Was it the tours at some of the most significant historical sites in the world? The vast amount of information learned through lectures and students at their local university? Maybe it was purely site seeing some of the most beautiful structures that are unlike anything seen here in the United States. I struggled and debated for hours over these possibilities until it dawned on me. The best part of my trip was not the things I did or what could necessarily be “measured”, it was the experience in its entirety and the group of people who came with me. It is because of them, that this was the most amazing experience of my life.
Prior to my departure, I was of course extremely worried about what kind of students would be going on this trip with me. Everyone knows that in a situation such as this, a good group can either make or break your time there. Going in knowing absolutely no one and with such a short timeframe, I was extremely apprehensive about the amount of effort I would put in to get to know the individuals accompanying me on the trip. Would it really be possible to make long lasting relationships in just a week’s time? Despite these common worries when thrown into a situation completely out of my comfort zone, it just so happened that I really lucked out.
In all of my twenty-one years in this world, I can say that studying abroad during Spring Break was the best time of my life. I think the basis of what made this experience what is was, was the group itself. This may be up for debate, but I can personally presume that we had the best group of individuals on this trip, or any study abroad for that matter. I did not just simply gain a wealth of knowledge from my visit to Poland, but I also gained eighteen people that I consider close friends now.
After speaking to other friends who participated in different study abroad programs, they also shared the same reactions that I had. They had a blast with the people they went with, they became close with their roommate during the stay, and so on. If you are on the fence about studying abroad, with any educational or financial reasons aside, I can assure you that you will enjoy such an opportunity simply from the amazing students who would participate in it with you. It is all thanks to my Poland group, that this experience was the best yet in my life.