Has anyone studied abroad and what was your experience like? I want to travel but don't know if it's wise for me to study abroad.

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Scarlet Michaelson, English and Writing Teacher

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I loved studying abroad. What is your concern about doing it? For me, I didn't want to be away for an entire school year. Many people do junior year abroad but since I had never traveled out of the country before, it seemed like too much of a commitment. So I researched different programs and found one that was only one term long. Some universities have even shorter programs over the summer.

As for cost, it's usually covered by financial aid and depending on where you go, could even end up costing less than your current college.

It's hard to answer your question without knowing you or what concerns you in particular, but overall I recommend studying abroad. Changing your perspective can change your life!

Jessica Sillers, Studied abroad in Alicante, Spain in 2007. Last visited Spain in 2014.

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I was eager to study abroad--so much so that I went for the second semester of my sophomore year, which was as early as my college would let me go! My experience was fabulous, and I think it helped me both academically and personally.

From the academic perspective, I got to complete a Spanish minor with real-world experience, rather than relying on the classroom alone. I've retained more of the language from having to speak it day-to-day. I worked with my advisors to make sure the classes I took abroad would transfer and that I could use them toward as many requirements as possible.

On a personal level, studying abroad meant stretching several boundaries. I traveled solo for the first time, practiced a new language, and got comfortable acting according to a set of rules that were a little different from the American customs I was used to. I think it's wise to learn to see aspects of your culture from a different perspective. Study abroad, with its frequent use of homestay placements rather than hotels, will give you a more intimate experience with a different culture than vacation travel.

Overall, studying abroad strengthened my sense of my own capability, as well as developing skills and better cultural understanding. I highly recommend it as part of your student experience.

Hannah Miller, World Traveler, TEFL instructor, Education Hacker, and Freelance Writer.

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I did the entirety of my high school work and the first year of university abroad via distance education, which is completely untraditional but worked very well for me. I'm currently a Geography Major at Queen's University in Canada, and play to study abroad more in the future. I quite enjoy it, primarily because distance courses allow me to study during my best study hours and create my own schedule for the most part. It also gives me the freedom to travel the world - always a plus! Personally, I believe travel to be a very important part of a well-rounded education.

What are your concerns? We would be better able to answer your question if it was more specific.

Kendra Whitmire, Former Study Abroad Student and Travel Junkie

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Studying abroad was an amazing experience for me. I took a gap year between high school and college to be a Rotary Exchange Student in Salzburg, Austria, and then I studied abroad my entire Junior year. I did a semester in Vienna, Austria, and a semester in Brisbane, Australia. I also ended up going to graduate school in England.

I always knew that studying abroad was a must, so when I looked at colleges and set up my classes my first few semesters, I did so with the idea that I would spend my Junior year abroad. However, I know plenty of people who did not have such well thought out plans and were still able to do it.

I think that studying and living abroad gives you a better way to experience another country and culture, and you learn so much about yourself. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. If you are anxious about being away for a long time, you could do a summer semester instead.

As some of the other people stated, it is hard to answer the question without knowing your specific concerns. Some majors are harder to complete in the traditional four years if you study abroad, but you can usually work something out if you are motivated enough! Plus, the life lessons you learn are well worth any headaches that may come up with your advisors.

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