The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Don’t miss out: study abroad while you can

Dont miss out: study abroad while you can

The other day at the gym I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on a conversation between two underclass girls about whether to study abroad.

“I don’t know if I can leave SMU for a whole semester,” one said.

“Yeah,” her friend replied. “I just don’t want to miss out.”

Immediately, I butted in: “Sorry to interrupt. But let me assure you that you will be missing out if you don’t go.”

I would know. I’ve studied abroad for a summer in London and a semester in Spain. Both went way too fast and were the most amazing experiences of my life. But I’m not here to tell you how much fun I had in the discotheques in Madrid or rave about my weekend travels throughout Europe. I could go on forever. Seriously.

As a graduating senior and study abroad aficionado I feel it’s my duty to stress to younger students the importance of international experience in college. The summer programs are wonderful, but unfortunately are way too short and students don’t get a true sense of what it’s like to live abroad. Even the semester programs fly by, but they are a better way for students to become less of a tourist and more of a citizen.

It seems as if many undergrads are turned off by the semester programs because they don’t want to be left out of what happens at SMU. Please, you’re afraid of missing a few fraternity parties with the same people at the same bars? Trust me, when you’re boating in the Canary Islands or shutting down the bar-car on an over-night train to Portugal, you’ll forget what Barley House is.

You’ll quickly realize there is a huge world out there and how much of a bubble SMU really is. Don’t get me wrong, I love our social scene, and you can always find me dancing at Homebar on Thursday nights. But I had no problem sacrificing those Thursdays for the Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in Europe.

Living in a foreign country opens your eyes to things you won’t ever find in the United States. Each city has its own unique culture that you can take in and become a part of. You are so close to dozens of fabulous countries that are only a train ride or short flight away. Instead of asking, “What bar do I want to go to,” your weekend concerns become, “What country do I want visit?”

My education on campus is incomparable to the experiences I had abroad with foreign teachers, Spanish schools and different cultures. Studying abroad makes you more worldly and gives you a much broader education. Sure, you can take an art history class here and look at slides every week, but why not actually go to the Prado Museum and see Picasso’s impressive “Guernica?”

If you’re worried about leaving your friends behind, don’t. They will still be there when you return and even more excited to see you. And if you’re lucky, they will visit you over spring break like my wonderful amigas did.

The friends you will make in your program will quickly become family as you get lost in Switzerland and take eight hour bus rides to Marbella. You will experience things with your study abroad friends that you will never go through with anyone else. You will have a bond that forever connects you to everyone in your program.

For most of us, studying abroad is the only chance we will have in our lifetimes to live almost freely in a foreign country. After college come jobs, families and more responsibilities.

Take advantage of the opportunity now. It will change your life forever.

About the writer:

Annalise Ghiz is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at [email protected].

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