7 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Study Abroad Humanities and Liberal Arts
August 7, 2017

7 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad

You sit down, fasten your seatbelt and cover yourself with the complementary blanket no larger than your baby blanket from eighteen years ago. A child screams behind you as the stewardess goes through the necessary safety procedures. The man next to you snores, falling asleep before the aircraft has even left the ground. Thankfully, you have one thing going for you; you are next to a window. As the plane lifts from the pavement, you soar high into the sky. Peering down, you see the people disappear as the houses begin to look more and more like pieces from Monopoly. Excitement wells within you. Finally, you are traveling abroad!

As clouds roll by, however, you start to wonder if traveling abroad was the right decision. Already missing family and friends, you doubt yourself even though it is too late to turn back.

If I’ve just described you or you are contemplating studying abroad, but a seed of doubt has been planted firmly in your mind, this post is for you. From a student who has studied abroad, trust me, you will not regret it. Why not? Here are 7 reasons why you should study abroad.

  1. Creating Context

Although books and lectures are wonderful learning methods, there is nothing more powerful or memorable than actually seeing sites, monuments, statues, buildings and ruins in person. When you study abroad, you have the opportunity to see history come to life as you travel to places most people only read about. Oftentimes when reading, it is difficult to imagine the grandeur of a work or the orientation of different buildings and pieces in relation to one another. Therefore, traveling and seeing these places is the best way to give context to significant historical artifacts and architecture, revealing the way things truly are and alluding to how things used to be.

  1. Creation and Its Creator

“What a small world!” This common phrase could not be further from the truth. The world is an immense masterpiece that deserves exploring. Whether climbing the mountains of the Italian Amalfi Coast or overlooking a river in Ecuador, you quickly realize creation is much larger than what you see out of your back door. Studying abroad not only opens your eyes to the beauty and diversity of creation, but it instills a yearning to see more. Most importantly, it inspires awe for creation’s magnificent Creator.

  1. Personal Growth

Studying abroad stretches and shapes you. Like going to college, everything is new and mom is not around anymore to hold your hand. All of a sudden, you are in a new place where you have to learn how to get around, how to buy groceries while dealing with the language barrier, how to plan trips and book hotels, etc. There are no cars (unless you rent one,) so public transportation is your friend. Traveling abroad can turn an insecure, dependent person into a confident, independent individual. You learn how to be self-reliant and aware of your surroundings. Flexibility becomes the theme of the trip while plans change, trains are missed and others’ opinions misalign with your own. Opportunities for growth surround you. The question is: Will you embrace them?

  1. Exercise

Strap on your hiking shoes and let’s go! Walking is the name of the game here. Whether picking up your laundry, walking to the train/bus/subway/boat station, exploring sites or taking leisurely strolls with friends, you will exercise. Unlike in America where walking takes conscious effort, here it is a necessity. After all, your plane ticket was for one American not your 300 horsepower Ford pickup. Walking becomes an enjoyable part of life, slowing you down to appreciate the small wonders around.

  1. New Foods Galore

Get in, Get out, Get chubby. Here it comes…the freshman 15 all over again. Before you know it, you will be eating foods you have only seen on Pinterest. So, whip out your wallet, get your hunger on and eat up. Who wouldn’t want sweet-smelling croissants, pizza with pumpkin cream sauce, gelato and bruschetta after a long day visiting the Colosseum?

  1. Bilingual

Okay, bilingual may be a bit of an exaggeration, but there is no denying that you will become more fluent in whatever language surrounds you. Practice makes perfect, and in a new culture, practice is not an option; it is a must. Learning a new language from a textbook is beneficial, but learning from experience is optimal. So, brush up on your high school Spanish, and get ready to put it to use.

  1. Lasting a Lifetime

We are all builders. Through encouragement, we build others up. With study, we build knowledge. With labor, we build monuments. We are constantly building something. When studying abroad, you are building as well. Not only are you building your base of knowledge but more importantly, you are building relationships. You and your classmates are all sharing in this once-in-a-lifetime experience together. As you travel from place to place, visit sites, study, talk, eat, laugh, cry and sing with your classmates, new friendships will form and old ones will solidify. The memories built and the friendships formed are by far the foremost reason to travel abroad. They will be memories and relationships that endure.

Do not second-guess your decision to study abroad; it was the right one. You will have exciting experiences, taste new foods, visit breathtaking places, make deep friendships and build lasting memories. From my grandmother to me and from me to you, just remember to be safe and have fun. You will have the adventure of a lifetime.

Geneva offers dozens of off-campus study opportunities. To learn more about Geneva College’s study abroad programs, visit Crossroads www.geneva.edu/academics/crossroads/off-campus-study or contact Admissions – admissions@geneva.edu, 800-847-8255.

-Olivia Forton ‘19