All students should seize opportunities to study abroad

By Brooke Hill | Staff Writer

Every time an adult tells me that college students have more free time than anyone else, I just laugh it off. They have to be joking, right? On top of taking 16 hours, I have a job, attend church, am a member of a sorority and am involved in two other organizations on campus, all while trying to make memories to last a lifetime. If you asked me if I have much free time, I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you no.

But the more I think about it, I realize that they’re right, especially when it comes to opportunities like studying abroad. We get to choose how many hours we’re in class and how we spend our time. Most of us will never again have the chance to live in another country for months at a time. While in college, we have the opportunity to get outside of our comfort zones by immersing ourselves into another culture while still learning about subjects that will apply to our degrees. Baylor has a great study abroad program that allows students to go almost anywhere they desire to, and even has a specific scholarship to help students whose dreams of studying abroad are being hindered by financial reasons.

Not only is it a cool opportunity to see the world, but it really adds a whole new level of understanding to the subject you’re learning about. This summer, I read the Aeneid while in the Italian hill country that’s mentioned in the poem. I got to explore Rome, Florence, Venice and Pompeii and even got to take a trip to the Amalfi Coast and Capri with a best friend that I made over the course of the trip. Relaxing on a private boat getting a tour of Capri and swimming through beautiful grottos might just be the highlight of my life so far. Next summer, I hope to study British Literature in Great Britain. It’s an amazing thing to get to actually see the places you’re reading about with your own eyes. Even things you’re not currently studying but have always heard about are a treat to get to experience. For example, I’ve always had a fascination with Pompeii, but seeing it in person this summer was so much better than I had imagined it to be.

In addition to being an academically advantageous environment, studying abroad helps you become more globalized. It’s pretty impressive for an employer to see that you handled yourself well in a country that speaks a different language. When you learn how to communicate with people who don’t even speak your language, you become much more effective as a communicator. You also gain responsibility, since it’s up to you to plan trips and figure out how to get from point A to point B. One time this summer, we had to think quickly when we were taking a trip and realized that we had gotten on a train going the wrong direction. It was definitely a challenge to try to communicate what had happened so we could figure out what to do since no one spoke English.

How much money are you willing to spend? Which is the safest place to stay at? How can I do and see the most in the amount of time allotted to me? These are all questions you have to decide for yourself. Doing this on a daily basis for an extended period of time equips you to handle high intensity, demanding job roles in any field that interests you.

Baylor has presented us with a way to become more globalized individuals while making memories and earning class credits, and we should take advantage of it. Whatever you want to see, wherever you want to go, find a way to make the experience educational and go see the world while you can.