My Top 3 Reasons for Spending an Academic Year Abroad
Post by Josephine Osei, who studied abroad in London, England. Click here to learn about the many opportunities to travel abroad at Babson.
Early on in my college career, I had set studying abroad as one of my top goals. I had longed dreamed of travelling the word and immersing myself in a new culture. I deeply appreciated that Babson made studying abroad so accessible and had a great selection of programs to choose from. However, I had never anticipated that I would live in another country for an entire academic year. When I learned about the General Course at the LSE everything changed. I am so glad that I took a risk and studied in London for a year and would do it ten times over. While studying abroad in any capacity is sure to be an incredible experience, an academic year abroad is definitely worth considering.
Be More than a Tourist/Visitor
Prior to studying abroad, I had heard from several friends how quickly their semesters abroad had gone by. If nine months in London went by too fast, I cannot imagine how quickly 3-4 months would fly by. An academic year abroad gives you more time to process changes, adapt, and immerse yourself in a new country. Living in London for the year allowed me to become more than just a tourist or a visitor. A year gives you more time to explore a new culture and familiarize yourself in your new surroundings. I got to experience traditions by being in the city over the course of several holidays from Christmas to the variety of UK ‘Bank Holidays.’ Furthermore, I was able to gain a greater perspective on social and political issues by getting to witness the full course of the UK general elections. Living in a different country for a year allows you to go beyond the surface level and have a far greater experience than you would otherwise have as a casual tourist.
Forge Close Bonds
Not only does an academic year abroad allow you to form a deeper connection with your host country, but it also allows you to form deeper relationships with locals, friends, teachers, etc. I met so many amazing people while studying abroad. I was able to engage in meaningful dialogue in and out of the classroom. The opportunity to foster these relationships throughout the year enhanced my experience. As part of my particular program, I was directly enrolled, which made me feel as if I was an actual student. I formed close friendships with classmates/other General Course students and got to know my professors better.
Further Your Personal Development
Studying abroad involves pushing yourself completely out of your comfort zone. A year abroad truly furthered my personal development. I really learned how to manage my finances from weekly grocery expenses to traveling through Europe on a budget. Studying abroad deeply fosters independence and your ability to overcome obstacles. A year gives you more time to accomplish the goals you set out to achieve in your host country.