When in your life do you get the chance to live in a foreign country, to explore a new part of the world, not as a tourist? The answer is now.
The University of Oklahoma has many great study abroad programs with helpful advisors to help you plan your adventure. Here are just a few reasons why you should step outside your comfort zone and your country:
Change your view of the world in a positive way. Experiencing a different culture has a powerful impact. Since leaving I have come to understand and appreciate the food, language, religion and general way of life of Spain. America is not the center of the universe and our way is not the only way. Shocking, I know.
Shake up your routine. Studying abroad breaks the monotonous routine of four years undergrad. This means an unfamiliar environment, new means of transport, a completely different campus feeling and new friendships.
The convenience of traveling within Europe. The opportunities to travel through Europe are exceptional. Hop on a train to Paris or take a quick flight to Prague, it’s much cheaper than you might think. Travel from country to country on weekends. In fact, my program only has classes for four days of the week to travel and two trips are included in the total program price.
Practice a foreign language in the country of origin. Being immersed in a culture that speaks the language you are learning is the best way to learn. But don’t be intimidated by the language barrier, you’ll find English speakers all over the world.
Now for the tricky part – deciding when to go. This was difficult for me as there are pros and cons to each time frame.
Summer. This is when most students decide to study abroad, so you are more likely to travel with people you know. Summer sessions usually last four to six weeks, so it’s not that big of a commitment. You can even convince a few friends to join you. The best thing about studying abroad in the summer is the ideal weather. Arezzo, Italy, average 71 degrees in July. As for the negative aspects of summer travel, you’re probably missing out on a relaxing summer at home with family, a useful internship, or a paid job.
fall. If you’re going to study abroad in the fall, you’ll miss the OU football season and CAC events like Howdy Week, Homecoming, U-Sing, and Dad’s Day, just to name a few. However, fewer students study abroad in the fall, so if money is a big factor for you, it may be easier to sublet your apartment or rental property in the fall to someone who is studying abroad in the spring.
Spring. If you decide to take the plunge in spring, skip the infamous spring parties and CAC events like Winter Welcome Week, Soonerthon, Big Event, Relay for Life, and Scandals. You may miss spring break with your promise class, but you will have an unforgettable holiday abroad.
If it seems like you’d be missing out on a lot by studying abroad in the spring or fall, just remember: it’s Japan, it’s France, it’s Chile, it’s practically wherever you want. It is the opportunity of a lifetime for a longer period of time. Don’t worry, Norman is eagerly awaiting your return.