This is my LAST post from the United States! It is the craziest thing to be able to say I will be in Copenhagen in less than a week. This is something I have been waiting for since 2009. As a freshman, I had hoped to study abroad sophomore year. Then, after transferring, I was hoping I could do it my junior year. Now here I am, senior year and finally studying abroad. If it doesn't work out the first time, do not give up!
Since I've had the desire to study abroad for so many years, here are some of the reasons I haven't given up on it, along with some excuses I've heard from others and my rebuttal.
-"It is so expensive." Yes, college in general is expensive. But there will never be another time in your life where you will get the opportunity to drop everything and move to anther country for six months, and pay so little. If you take away the cost of tuition, living and travelling abroad during college can be so cheap. You get student deals and discounts, housing, and maybe even a food stipend.
-"It just doesn't fit into my schedule." There are loads of opportunities to study abroad: semesters, J-term, May term, and summer. Students typically aren't taking classes during three of those options anyway. Three weeks abroad is better than no time abroad. I went to France for a week one year during spring break, and even that short amount of time was enough to change me. Plus, as students at the U of M, we are all provided with advisers who are here to help us map out our four-year graduation plans. Mention your interest in studying abroad at the first meeting and they will help you plan courses accordingly. Advisers are great!
-"I don't know another language." You would be surprised how many study abroad opportunities are taught in English. My school in Copenhagen is taught in English, even though most of the professors are Danes. A number of my architecture friends are headed to Istanbul, where they will be taking classes in English. The U of M is a huge school with so many resources spread throughout the world. You will easily find a program that is the best fit for you. Check out all the programs here.
-Last but not least, a bit of my advice. I know I am a little different by saying that I love change, but I do, and I am so excited for all the changes that are going to be happening over the next few months. I'm not just talking about changing my where I live or who I hang out with, but more so how I am viewing the world and my education. Only a handful of my architecture peers take the opportunity to study abroad. But I believe those who do are only adding to their education. Architecture is a global study, and it is refreshing to one's work to be able to study elsewhere and with a variety of professors. The work you produce will be unique and will give you the opportunity to stand out. Studying abroad is meant to be a learning experience in all aspects of one's education and life. And as students who are eager to learn, why not study abroad!?
I am saying all of this pre-departure, so we will have to reference it again in May. But having this mind-set for six years has brought me to this point, and I could not be happier. Farewell to my friends, family, colleagues, and America! Denmark, here I come!
"Traveling is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer." -Unknown