Studying abroad short term or for one semester seems convenient. You don’t have to be away from home for too long, which can be a factor especially if it’s your first experience abroad. You can also spend the holidays with your family, which is something that many of us wish for. However, living this particular experience for only four mouths seemed way too short for me when I applied. And I am incredibly happy I made that choice!
My fall semester came to an end at East Stroudsburg University in the United States, I had some holidays and now I’m back for spring semester. While most international students that I’ve met only study abroad for one semester, I strongly recommend to stay the entire academic year like myself.
These are the main reasons why you should consider spending a full year abroad:
1. More Time
Well this one is obvious, but especially important when considering time with people. You will have more time to bond with people to make better relationships. You don’t have to say goodbye to your new friends right away and still have time to enjoy spending time with them, and plenty of time to make new ones as well!
You will also have more time to travel. This is worth it even for the winter break between Fall and Spring, which in the U.S., lasts about one mouth which allows you lots of time to travel the country and to visit new places farther away.
In the U.S., flying can be expensive but you can find plenty of bus option which is cheaper, you just need the time. Road trips, however, are the best way to travel! You can rent a car even if you are under 25 years old, you just have to pay an additional fee. The gas here isn’t as expensive as other countries and having your own car while you are visiting allow you to discover many different places. Along the way you are spending time with your friends, listening to music, talking about anything and everything, leading to lots of memories.
2. Lessons learned from your first semester
You have the chance to “fix” what was “wrong” from the first semester. You can learn from your mistakes or what didn’t go so well and keep doing the things you enjoyed. For instance, I am changing roommates and moving in with a friend. I also know better which classes I want to take and which teachers I want to have again.
Many people wish they were not going home at the end of their first semester, especially after their first semester as a learning experience. Some even change their mind and extend their stay — it’s not impossible, but better to just plan for the full year from the start!
You can actually commit yourself and be part of a club. It makes more sense to be part of a sports team or a specific club when you are here for a full year. Investing yourself in some kind of extracurricular activity or project for only a couple months seems useless for most international students. And it is one of their biggest regrets, they have told me so!
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