Why I Want to Study Abroad

Caitlin Carney

Why do I want to study abroad so desperately? A better question would be; why would I NOT want to study abroad?

In the most literal sense, studying abroad allows you to travel to a new land. This is also incredibly exciting because you get to learn about a different culture as well as see some absolutely breathtaking landscapes. While you can get half of this by just traveling to another state, there is something exciting to me about being in an area with different food and a language that is different from my own.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I got to utilize my four years of German class and participate in an exchange program called GAPP. GAPP allowed me to have a German student live with me for a month and then I got to live with her in Germany for a month.

This was easily the best experience of my life.

Visiting another country is fun, but actually living there is such a different, and life-changing experience. Having taken the language for four years I had a lot of knowledge of the language and culture under my belt, but I learned so much more while I was there that you just can not find in a textbook. I got to learn German slang or where the best place to buy coffee is. I learned which transit systems are more convenient and what people thought about the government. Most importantly, I got to see that Germans are not like their stereotypes, and they got to learn that Americans are not like our stereotypes.

It is absolutely fascinating to me to be able to see how people live in a different area. We as human beings are all the same in the most basic sense, but in different areas, we act differently. You can only truly experience someone else’s culture by being there.

This is why I want to study abroad. Ever since I came home from Germany, I have wanted to travel again. I have wanted to go learn about yet another culture or language, I have wanted to visit the countries that make up my heritage. I would love to go back to Germany but I would also love to experience a new place. I have a bucket list which contains 50 plus countries that I would like to travel to at some point in my lifetime, maybe even for studying abroad. All of these places have different reasons for being on my bucket list. Some are absolutely beautiful tropical islands while others are chock full of history. Others are just simply because they are full of incredible sight-seeing.

My final reasoning for studying abroad is that you will grow so much closer with the people you study abroad with. My GAPP group was already very close due to being in the same German class for four years at that point, but being together all day every day turned us into even more of a family than we were before. People who have studied abroad before, I am sure, will argue that the friendships they made while they were there are lifelong friendships. When someone is the only familiar thing for you in a new place, you are going to cling to them and your relationship will grow immensely.

Study abroad to learn new things. Study abroad to see beautiful places. Study abroad to make friendships to last a lifetime. Study abroad.