Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Didn't do study abroad. Life changed anyway.

My junior year of college, essentially my entire social group studied abroad.  I, for various reasons mostly beyond my control, stayed behind, attending school in the same city where I had lived my entire life.

I was terrified. Study-abroad is a "life-changing experience", and as the only one in our little group not to have her life changed, how would I still fit in?  Would they outgrow me?

So the other day, I decided to sit down and write about how I could recapture some of those missing experiences, and gain those missing values, even though I'm never again going to be in a situation where I can drop out of my everyday life and study in Europe for three months.

So how does study abroad change a student's life?

Well, apparently a student comes home from study abroad mature, independent, open-minded to diversity, and interested in lifelong learning.

But wouldn't the average student who is interested in study abroad already be someone mature, independent, open-minded to diversity, and interesting in lifelong learning?

And doesn't the average young adult generally come into his or her adult self substantially between the ages of 18 and 22?

So isn't it perfectly reasonable to wonder if these remarkable changes would have occurred in these students at roughly the exact same time no matter where they studied?

I'm missing a line on my resume, a second language, a set of good stories to swap at the bar.

But just try convincing anyone who knows me that I never developed a lifelong love of learning. You would actually have more success prying my library card out of my cold, dead hands.
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