August 24, 2007

Studying Abroad

Posted in Graduate Students, Misc tagged , , , , , at 1:15 PM by Joe From Boston

I’ve got Study Abroad on the mind today. We ordered Indian food for the office today for lunch, and I was put in charge of ordering because I’ve spent time in India and Nepal, and I know what almost everything on the menu actually is.

I studied abroad in Nepal Jan-June 2001, doing a study-abroad during my junior year of college through the School for International Training. I also did my master’s degree directly enrolled at King’s College, London, England.

I wouldn’t trade either experience for the world.

This is a difficult article for me to write, because even 6 and 3 years later, respectively, it’s hard to explain to someone how incredible an experience studying in a foreign country can be.

Studying abroad changes you in the best ways you can be changed. You begin to realize how truly lucky you are, and you learn a lot about yourself. You are exposed to multiple different points of view, many which you’ve probably never encountered, but all make you think very hard about your own beliefs.

I find that people who study abroad are better prepared to stand on their own to feet afterwards than their college counterparts who did not go. They’ve been “on their own” in a foreign country and had to think for themselves.

You also have some of the most incredible experiences of your entire life. I’ve flown past the Himalayas – at 30,000 feet when you look out the airplane window, they are at eye level – and hiked through them. I’ve rode elephants through the jungle looking for rhinos. I’ve taken the train to Paris for the day. I’ve been to Stonehenge 5 times (everyone who visited me wanted to go).

I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything.  However, traveling can come with risk so consider travel insurance or specific student insurance plans.

I guess you could say that studying abroad has made me appreciate life a lot more than I would have otherwise.

Wow, writing this has really made me want to book a trip somewhere! Kathmandu, anyone?