Hola! Ciao! Bonjour!
In case you haven’t heard, studying abroad during one’s time at Trinity is something encouraged by the entire community! The Study Away Office (located on Vernon Street) is like a porthole to a whole other world outside of our little Hartford oasis. There are so many places and opportunities Trinity offers within the Study Abroad system, that there is practically something for everyone. Trinity has a number of sister campuses in many places around the world, these include: Cape Town, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Shanghai, Trinidad, Buenos Aires and Barcelona. If none of these options spark your interest, you also have the ability to enroll in satellite programs with other schools! With the Study Away Office, you can pretty much go anywhere your heart desires.
After my first two weeks at Trinity’s Barcelona program, I’ve come up with five reasons why everyone underclassmen should consider studying abroad as part of your college experience. So, if you on the fence about this one, just hear me out…
1. Your taste buds will thank you.
If you think your Grandma’s cooking is out of this world, wait until you eat in Italy – one word: PASTA. To be quite honest, when you study abroad not only will your horizons expand, but your palette will too. Food and drink is so important in every culture and when you are surrounded by new smells and flavors, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture in ways you never had expected. Also, if you’re a self-proclaimed foodie, what’s better than enjoying a fresh baked croissant while taking a stroll under the Eiffel Tower? I’ll tell you…nothing.
2. New friendships await you.
When you make the decision to take a semester away from Trinity and spend it elsewhere, you are going to be placed in a program with a bunch of other people that made that same decision. The great thing about the Study Away programs is that they become super-inclusive; you may have seen that girl on the long walk freshman year, but now you’re her roommate at a home-stay in a foreign country. However, not only will you make new unexpected Trinity friends, but you will also have the opportunity to meet other local and international students within your classes. Some Trinity programs have you directly enroll in local university classes, which means you may be flying solo depending on what your interested in. This is the PERFECT time to step out of your comfort zone and make some new friends. Who knows, maybe your long lost BFF has been growing up South Africa this entire time!
3. You’ll learn what you like, but more importantly, what you don’t like.
Studying Abroad is a big step for many college students because it means leaving everything they know and stepping into something completely, well…foreign! Do ever go about your daily routine at home simply out of habit, and not even think about what your actually doing? Well when you go abroad, chances are you’ll realize that there are many things you do in life that are not really your style at all. I know – weird to think about right? Honestly, we all can get caught in a rut at home because it’s whats comfortable or expected of us, but abroad, you have the opportunity to figure out exactly who you want to be. And that’s pretty awesome.
4. You get a break from your phone.
If you consider yourself a “normal college student” then you probably make checking your Instagram and Facebook notifications a daily priority. I hate to break it to you, but unless you want to pay a semester’s worth of tuition in phone bills…you’re going to have to disconnect for a while. In many places abroad, not only can you not use cell data, but WiFi hotspots are few and far between. This is great, believe me. When you finally accept the fact that your daily Instagram crawl will just have to wait, you will feel a weight lifted off your shoulders. By disconnecting you can give yourself permission to experience your time abroad first-hand, instead of through Snapchat stories. Turning away from the phone screen will force you to explore your surroundings and be present in your daily life. I promise, leave your phone at home and go get lost on the metro…you won’t regret it.
5. Well-roundedness is almost inevitable.
Let’s face it, if you decide to go abroad, you’re bound to become (at least) a slightly different person than when you left…that’s AWESOME. If you’re lucky enough to live in a home-stay during your program, you get to see what and how a typical family in a certain culture eats, converses, works, and values. Taking classes at local universities exposes you to different styles of teaching and learning, and may be helpful when you return to Trinity. Depending on where you chose to study abroad, being surrounded by other languages may be overwhelming at first, but will ultimately make you stronger in the long run. Learning how to navigate yourself and your life in a new place can be a very humbling but growing experience. The chances of you returning home with a greater sense of perspective is possibly the best thing to be gained from your time abroad.
These are obviously just a handful of the millions of reasons you should consider taking some time to Study Away during your Trinity career. Be sure to stop by the Study Away office or the online info here, if you want to learn more about the amazing opportunities that await you! But for now, enjoy the beginnings of another wonderful Fall Semester in Hartford…nothing beats a Chapel picture in October!