Sam Applies to Study Abroad

Oi. Talk about scary, exciting, and well scary. But it is true.  I am applying to study abroad.

The idea came to me over winter break.  I was bored, hated working as a cashier, and one day, I came across a Facebook post from one of the girls from my school.  She was talking about how she was going to study abroad in Italy in a few weeks for the spring semester.  I was instantly jealous.  How cool would that be?

On a whim, I checked out the study abroad website.  I started clicking around a bit and I realized that studying abroad actually wasn’t as expensive as I thought, in fact, it was pretty darn affordable considering I’d be living in another country for three months.

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The idea scared me though.  I’ve always been a creature of habit.  Even moving to a college an hour away from my house took almost a year and a half to get used to.  But I made an appointment with the study abroad counselor anyway.

I went to the study abroad office, had the meeting, and I started getting really excited.  Live in another country?  It had always been my dream to travel to Europe.  I’ve had an Eiffel Tower poster and a Big Ben replica in my bedroom since I was ten.

I brought home the paper work and talked to my parents.  They were on board with it.

Flash forward to the end of winter break and the beginning of the semester.  I was excited to go back to school but when I got back to my room and made my bed and put away my clothes, I was struck by homesickness.

To give you some back story, freshman year and part of sophomore year I struggled with homesickness.  I went home every weekend.  I didn’t have many friends at school.  I hated college.  But that all changed when my roommate sophomore year, Barbara, changed my perspective.

She forced me to do all the stupid campus events and included me when hanging out with her friends.  Suddenly, college felt like home.  Then, junior year started and I moved in with my current roommate, Becky.  We hung out all the time and I started making all kinds of new friends.  Suddenly, I never wanted to go home.

When winter break started, I was unhappy.  I missed school.  I missed my friends.  I missed everything about college.  So I expected when I went back, it would be the best thing ever.  Wrong.

I was homesick the first week.  I was stressed out, missed my bed at home, hated college food, and was too busy to make plans with people.  It sucked.  All of a sudden, study abroad seemed like the stupidest idea ever.  If I was homesick an hour away from my house and surrounded by my friends, in a place I already knew and loved, what would I do with an ocean between me and everything I love?

But midway into the second week of the semester, things started looking up.  I was back in the swing of things, and I started thinking about that pesky study abroad idea again.  Maybe I could do this.

I thought it over a little more until I realized what an amazing opportunity this is.  An experience of a lifetime.  So, I took the plunge and asked two professors to fill out the recommendation form for me.  I started writing out my application essays, and on March 11th, 2013 I will be applying to study abroad.

Oh crap.  That’s scary.

Living in the United Kingdom for three months. Getting off the plane in a foreign country, alone.  Oh jeez.  This should be interesting.

So.  Have any of you ever studied abroad?  Do you have any tips?

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19 thoughts on “Sam Applies to Study Abroad

  1. Canvas & Thread February 17, 2013 / 9:17 am

    one bit of advice: bring some wellies and an umbrella, it rains here a lot. I love living here in the UK but then, ive always lived here. which area will you be in? i guess one thing to remember and tell yourself everyday is that its only for 3 months. home will always be home and it will be waiting for you when your 3 months is up. You never know who you might meet and what new opportunities may arise which seems scary but it could also be the best experience ever :)

    • Samantha February 17, 2013 / 10:05 am

      Alright, I already had to google what “wellies” was. :P Who says there isn’t a language barrier? The school I am looking at is in Leicester. The whole study abroad thing is totally scary but really exciting. If everything works out, it’ll be an amazing experience.

      • Canvas & Thread February 17, 2013 / 10:25 am

        sorry, didnt think when it came to the word wellies. have you had a look at Leicester online? i always feel more at ease if i see the place on a map or in images first :)

        • Samantha February 17, 2013 / 10:29 pm

          I have looked at quite a few pictures. I’ve been using Google Maps, and “street viewing” the area. :)

  2. eharris29 February 17, 2013 / 9:22 am

    Hey Sam! Just came across your blog and loved this post because I’m a Canadian currently finishing my business degree in Europe as well! Studying abroad is the best life decision I’ve ever made. It’s not always easy, but it’s immensely rewarding. I’m sure you’re going to love it! :)

    • Samantha February 17, 2013 / 10:08 am

      It’s great to hear from someone is going through the whole experience. I looked over your blog, and it seems like you’ve been doing a lot of fun stuff, travelling around Europe. I see that you’re a runner too. Is there a good running community where you are studying?

      • eharris29 February 17, 2013 / 10:34 am

        There is a running club that I joined back in the fall, but I found it hard to get really into it because the training was in Dutch hahaha. There are definitely lots of runners here though.

  3. anadventurersdream February 17, 2013 / 3:07 pm

    I’ve never studied abroad, and the one thing I’m doing that involves going abroad lasts only a week for my class. However, at my school, study abroad is really pushed. I’ve heard so many great things – and that it really changes you as a person. It’s great that you are taking this opportunity to take a chance and go abroad! And to live there for several months. I’m really jealous and really excited for you! If you are feeling homesick, maybe try writing handwritten letters to your family and friends – I’m sure it’ll feel great to get a letter in the mail! And don’t forget you can always call (though there are international fees) or Facebook. :) And don’t forget to have fun!

    • Samantha February 17, 2013 / 10:24 pm

      A week is still a good opportunity to do some exploring!

      Hand written letters is a great idea. I hand-write all my journals so I know how much more personal it is seeing handwriting and doodles other then text. Thanks for your comment!

  4. Andi February 18, 2013 / 8:30 pm

    Well, at least they speak English there. You will get the excitement of living in a different country AND you will usually know what they are saying. I couldn’t imagine living in a country that doesn’t speak English and trying to survive. Good Luck…sounds like a great adventure!

    • Samantha February 18, 2013 / 8:55 pm

      I know. I can’t imagine living in Spain or something. It would be like Spanish overload.

  5. Chloe Reznikov February 23, 2013 / 8:53 pm

    Hi Samantha! I recently studied abroad this summer, in London and Paris, and loved it! What school would you be studying with? I studied fashion and took one class in London (Fashion Trends) and one class in Paris (Fashion Styling.) I was only there for 5 weeks so it was perfect. I got to spend some summer at home and some summer across the world in two of my favorite cities!

    You will not regret studying abroad. I think seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night made the whole trip worth while! ;) SO beautiful. I also have many pictures of the Eiffel Tower (I am obsessed.)

    When would you be going to London? I went in July and it was actually pretty cold. I wish I brought warmer jackets. You will also need rain shoes and an umbrella. MAKE SURE you have comfy shoes, your feet WILL hurt because you walk a lot. People are extremely nice… London and the Tube (their subway) is very easy to navigate and I just loved it there.

    Paris was harder for me because I actually don’t speak French. I taught myself a few important french words, but the people in Paris were actually really helpful. They were not rude at all, and would point at things and try to speak English! Paris is my favorite place in the world but both cities are wonderful. If you like art, make sure you go see Monet’s Gardens (soooooo beautiful, just like his paintings.)

    If you add me on FB you can see my pictures! Let me know if you have any questions. I am super busy but would love to help. I know what it is like studying abroad for the first time…exciting yet scary.

    Chloe

  6. Samantha February 23, 2013 / 9:53 pm

    Hey Chloe,

    It sounds like you had an amazing time. I will be applying to a school that is about an hour and a half outside of London (it was way too expensive to go to a school in London itself). If I get accepted, I am definitely going to bring some heavy clothes and an umbrella. Almost everyone I’ve talked to from the UK has mentioned the rain so, I’ll be prepared.

    It’s so cool you were able to live in France and see the Eiffel Tower! It’s sort of always been my dream. I’ll definitely be making a weekend trip to Paris if I get accepted!

    I saw from your blog you are a fashion student. That sounds pretty cool. We don’t have a fashion major at my school, but it sounds like a lot of hard work, sewing and designing all the time. I tailor some of my clothes, and I know what a pain in the ass sewing can be. I’ve wanted to throw the stupid thing across the room a million times when I’ve finished sewing something that took me like ten minutes, and then I find out the bobbin is out. ARGH.

    I couldn’t find you on Facebook, but I followed you on Twitter.

    Thanks for commenting. :)

  7. Vera May 15, 2013 / 11:45 am

    I have studied in England for one years and now I came to Germany to study for 4 years! Well.. it’s not always easy… but I would not change these experiences. I have grown sooooo much! :)

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