As I sit here on my terrace in Sevilla, Spain, with my host mother, I am so happy I made the decision to go abroad for a term.
Back when I was a first year, I was on the fence about going abroad or not.
I thought, ‘well if I go, won’t I miss home? Won’t I miss Union?
Won’t I miss everything that makes me feel comfortable?’
I answered yes to all of these questions; however, I had so many friends who were leaving Union for a term to venture off to another country – basically another world.
With more than half of the student population going abroad before they graduate, the pressure was on for me to make a decision.
Once my sophomore year rolled around, I knew it was really time for me to bite the bullet.
I attended a meeting about Spain, and I was amazed by the presentation.
I had the opportunity sitting right in front of me to live with a Spanish family, become fluent in Spanish (don’t let my last name fool you), live in Spain for three months, meet Spaniards and just be thrown into a completely different culture.
I knew I just had to go to Spain.
However, still I was nervous about the whole experience.
I didn’t want to leave the bubble that is Union.
I thought everything I need is right here at Union, so why leave?
I had my fantastic friends, my sorority sisters, my amazing professors, all my interests fulfilled with clubs, events and campaigns, and I am only a three and a half hour drive from my family.
Also, I could just continue to take Spanish classes, go to Spanish table and attend all the Spanish Club and CELA events to practice my Spanish and learn more about the Spanish and Latin American culture.
Moreover, I would have saved a good amount of money by simply staying at Union.
Yet, I realized the tiny bubble environment that is Union wouldn’t fulfill my desire to expand my horizons, take chances, make mistakes and just step out of my comfort zone.
And here I am, sitting on my terrace in Sevilla, and I don’t regret the decision to go abroad at all.
Now I am not saying everyone should drop everything and leave Union for a term; going abroad isn’t for everyone and I understand that.
Being away from home is hard, and the expense to go abroad is intense.
Also, maybe leaving behind all of your commitments to a certain club or sports team is virtually impossible.
However, going abroad to study in another country is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
There are also plenty of ways to get the money to go abroad through scholarships, fellowships, jobs or taking out loans, if need be.
Where there is a will, there a way. Studying abroad provides a different perspective of the world at large — it removes you from the bubble of Union, allowing you to grow as a person and even discover things about yourself you never knew.
Furthermore, you can do activities abroad similar to activities that Union offers.
Currently, I am volunteering at RedMadre, which is a non-profit organization that provides a solidarity network of support, advice and help to women to overcome any conflict before a pregnancy.
It’s safe to say my feminist spirit is quite happy.
So if you think you can do it, take the plunge. Go abroad and see what there is outside the bubble.