Everyone Should Study Abroad

I don’t have many regrets from college.

I don’t regret that “B” I got in English my sophomore year because I opted to go to a date party instead of the library. I don’t regret hooking up with a good friend, even if it turned out horribly ugly in the end. I don’t even regret catching a terrible cold that lasted 3 weeks after wrestling in Jell-O in the middle of October…in Michigan.

But if there is one thing I do regret from my years of undergrad it is that I never went abroad.

When my friends first started discussing going abroad for Junior year I was wary. Living in another country sounded interesting, but I was worried about being half way around the world for such a long time. I would miss my family. I would miss my friends. I would definitely miss late night pizza in Ann Arbor.

My friends moved forward, signed up to study in Australia and I opted out in favor of more time in good ole’ Michigan.

And I didn’t regret my decision…then. I had a great time! While it seemed like everyone I knew was going to be abroad, I ended up having tons of friends stick around Michigan with me. We all got a ton closer, I got more active in things around campus, I had an awesome spring break and it was a really fun semester (turning 21 helped, obviously). So what if my friends were off in Australia learning how to surf, camping in the rainforest or travelling through East Asia on their way home? Ann Arbor was just as great.

Then I graduated, got a job and realized that I only get 2 weeks of vacation time a year. Not nearly enough time for me to settle into another country, experience other cultures or see the world.

And the regret sunk in.

My mother makes fun of me whenever I bring this up. “Oh, poor baby,” she tells me. “You have such a hard life!” But she just doesn’t get it. I missed out on a truly once in a lifetime experience. I will never again be able to pick up and just go. I will never again have the time (and total lack of responsibility) to do serious travelling. So, instead of whining like I usually do, I decided to keep others like me from making the same mistake.

Go abroad! Travel! See the world!

If you have the opportunity to go abroad do it. Don’t let the little things keep you from such an incredible experience. Never again will you have an unlimited amount of time to escape from life and do something so rich and fulfilling. Going abroad is so much more than just meeting new people and seeing new things; it can really change you. Don’t miss out on that chance because of a boyfriend, a fear of the unknown, or any other dumb reason you keep coming up with. There is no good reason not to go abroad. None.

Unless, of course, you like the idea of spending your post college years sitting on your couch, watching the Travel Channel and crying about never having seen those things first hand.

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