He Said, She Said 9/17/12
Published: Sunday, September 16, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
I’m a junior who is all signed up for studying abroad next semester, but I’m having such a great time at BC this semester that I’m starting to doubt my decision. Will I regret it if I go? Will I regret it if I don’t?
Alex: I was in your exact shoes a year ago, so I know it can be a very stressful decision. I chose to go abroad to Sydney, Australia, and I do not regret it in the slightest. Plain and simple, it will be one of the most memorable and life-changing experiences you will have in college. You never hear anybody come back from abroad and say, "I didn’t really like it that much—I wish I would not have gone and just stayed at Boston College for the semester." There’s a reason for that, and that reason is because studying abroad is a phenomenal opportunity that is perfect for people our age. I was talking to a friend about it this summer, and they pointed out that there will probably never be another time in our lives where we have the chance to travel to anywhere in the world that we want and spend a semester exploring all it has to offer with no major worries or responsibilities to slow us down. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity in the purest form. Who knows what situation we will be in 10, 20, or 40 years from now? Don’t wait on something you want to do and hope it works out down the road—grab the opportunity while you can and enjoy it to the fullest. BC will still be here when you get back, and missing one semester out of eight is totally worth the tradeoff. I went skydiving, bungee jumping, scuba diving, snorkeling, ice glacier climbing, jet boating, hiking, surfing, caving, zip lining, and touring through some of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever seen. Would I do the trip again? Undoubtedly I would. But will I have the chance to do it ever again? That’s not a bet I’d want to take. Play it smart, go abroad, and I promise you will not regret it.
Taylor: Going abroad is undoubtedly a great experience. You meet great new people and get to live in a new, foreign place. A lot of people get jitters as the semester abroad lift-off date gets closer, and you should remember that’s totally normal. You’re getting yourself into a situation where you’re surrounded by the unexpected, but this novelty should be embraced. You’ll probably miss home, your friends, and your family for a while. You probably won’t know the people in your group, and if you’re in an external program, the chances of knowing someone are even slimmer. But you also need to remember the perks: once you get settled into your new European/African/South American location, you’ll more likely than not have an absolutely great time. I’ve heard of only very few people who didn’t enjoy their experience abroad. However, there are also other equally exciting options. Boston College has great summer programs, and you can always go abroad at another point later in your life when you don’t have the stress of course credit transfers. I personally didn’t go abroad because of issues with my majors and minor, but I participated in a class abroad in Venice that was absolutely fantastic. Don’t decide not to go just because you’re realizing you’re nervous and scared at this point. Anticipating something is always worse than doing it. I’ve had friends study abroad everywhere from Spain to Tanzania, and every one of them came back raving about the time spent there. Going abroad could be a great chance for you to be independent, conquer your initial fears of change, and have some incomparable experiences—and pretty unreal stories.