Leadership lessons during your college years come in many different forms. Whether it’s being actively involved in an on-campus organization, joining Gamma Phi Beta or landing a great internship, your collegiate experiences will continue to serve you well after you graduate! However, one of the most overlooked leadership opportunities you could take as a college student is to study abroad.
Fewer than 10% of American students study abroad. Countless students pass on studying abroad many different reasons, but here are five reasons that shouldn’t keep you from taking your studies and your leadership skills to the other side of the world.
Reason 1: Studying abroad for an entire semester is too long to be away from home.
Though studying abroad may bring out some unwanted homesickness, it is definitely not a reason to stray away from your dreams to immerse yourself in another culture! There are many ways to combat homesickness. Your potential to grow as a person and a leader starts by stepping outside of your comfort zone!
Reason 2: Studying abroad is not relevant to your degree.
Studying abroad is most definitely relevant to your degree! When applying for a job, the student who involves themselves more, taking more chances and allowing themselves to experience the world will most likely be more qualified than the student who did have the same experience, though they have the same degree. There are even majors that could vastly benefit from completing their entire program abroad.
Reason 3: Studying abroad is not affordable.
While it is true that studying abroad is expensive, it is also possible to make it affordable. Check out this website for ways to fund your study abroad experience. Some students can find ways to cut the cost in half or even go for free depending on their fundraising efforts and the scholarships that their university offers. Funding your own trip helps you develop leadership skills before you even begin your studies!
Reason 4: The fear of missing out.
Missing birthdays, fun nights with sisters and large events like football games or Homecoming can deter students from studying abroad. Though those moments would definitely be missed, so would an opportunity to study abroad that you could take with you forever! However, you can Group Skype into some of these events you will be upset about missing on campus, or chat with sisters and friends afterwards to hear all about it. I’m sure that they will be more supportive of your amazing adventures, over a few football games.
Reason 5: You don’t have enough time to travel before you graduate.
Did you know that there are plenty of programs that allow you to study abroad for as little as two weeks? Who says that you have to go away for a full semester? Check out EF Tours, a company that works with many colleges to send students away for a few days to a little over a month. Also, many programs will let you go during the summer, or even the summer after you graduate if that is more convenient for your academics.
Don’t miss out on a life-changing experience reach out to your school’s study abroad office and students or sisters you know who have studied abroad to help you plan. In the wise words of Dr. Seuss, “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so… get on your way!”
By Danielle Dupuis (Bridgewater State)
In Spring 2015, Danielle joined the Epsilon Eta Chapter of Gamma Phi Beta at Bridgewater State University as a freshman. Danielle currently serves as administrative vice president. As a psychology major with minors in public relations and inclusive special education/communication disorders, Danielle hopes to work in Higher Education Administration. Danielle is actively involved on campus as the Student Government President, an orientation leader and manager of student life social media (BSUlife), among other involvements. Within her leadership roles Danielle enjoys goal-setting, list-making, honesty, striving to be dependable and finding ways to better herself and others daily. Danielle loves traveling, spending her days the beach (she lives 10 minutes away from the East coast), reading and working out. She loves getting to know others and making connections, so feel free to reach out to her!