I am sure many students are questioning whether to study abroad or not. The pro-con list could go on forever. Currently, I am studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain and went through the same concerns that many students have. I compiled a list of a few things that I considered when making my decision:
1. Credit Transfers- Make sure the program you are using has classes that will transfer back to IU. The overseas study office provides students with lists of programs and places to go. They can help you make sure your classes abroad transfer back.
2. Cost- studying abroad can be very costly especially when you add up excursions to other countries. There are many scholarships that students can apply for. Also, if you are an out-of-state student, studying abroad can sometimes be cheaper than going to IU for a semester.
3. "Will I be homesick?"- You know yourself best. If you know you cannot go a day without talking to your parents, then maybe studying abroad is not for you. When you first arrive, culture shock is normal and causes you to feel homesick. Eventually as you learn your way around the city and understand the culture, you will no longer feel culture shock.
4. "I don't want to leave IU for a whole semester"- IU is an incredible university and to think about missing out on tailgates or basketball games can be scary. But you will be living in entirely new country and experiencing a new culture. What could be better than that? You will miss out on a few things, but you will be making up for them by taking a long weekend to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower or going down under in Australia.
5. "Can I stay in touch with family and friends?"- Yes. Technology today makes it easy to talk with family and friends back home. You can use Skype, email, or even text with WIFI texting apps.
After being in Barcelona for three weeks, I could not imagine not taking the opportunity to study abroad. it truly is an amazing experience that I hope everyone will be able to have.