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Defying your study abroad excuses

By Christine O'Dea

About a year ago, I began my journey into the magical, life-changing world of study abroad. It began with three weeks of filling out paperwork, headaches over financial aid and what felt like hundreds of meetings with department deans and advisors to get my classes approved.

However, those three weeks that I spent running around campus from department to department made my semester in Spain possible.

Handing in a piece of paper never felt so good. While abroad I met people from every part of the world. I dove into Spanish culture and learned about so much more than just tapas and siestas. I interned at a travel company, visited 10 countries and over 25 cities. My life transformed completely and I came back home a better person.

Seeing the world and personally growing only made me want to share that opportunity. I am now proudly the study abroad-obsessed alumnus running around campus trying to tell anyone that will listen that anyone can study abroad and that everyone needs to study abroad.

The overwhelming lack of study abroad awareness on campus concerns me. It concerns me enough to write this article that I hope will rid Hofstra of these absurd study abroad myths. Here are the top three completely false assumptions (a.k.a. excuses) about study abroad that I have heard so far:

“It’s too expensive.”

Of course you thought that. I thought the same thing, until I found out that financial aid applies to a semester abroad and Hofstra tuition does not apply. When I came back from Spain, my mom told me that I should go for another semester.  Her exact words were, “It was so much cheaper!” And if a Hofstra parent says that, you better listen.

“I can’t because of my major.”

There are at least a hundred different programs that offer a thousand different courses abroad. All it takes is finding the program that will fulfill your requirements. I thought it would be impossible to find classes whose credit could go toward my specific mass media major but sure enough, I found the exact ones I needed. Study abroad programs want no student left behind, so they do their best to make the academic side of this process easier for everyone involved.

“The application process is too hard.”

I’ll make this one simple. If you want to spend a semester traveling, taking classes about wine and food, and going out until 7a.m., then I think you can manage to get the eight signatures you need on that study abroad form.

Undergraduate study abroad is an opportunity that you may never get again. If you think you don’t have time now as a college student to study abroad, do you think you will have time with a full-time job?

The social, professional, and academic growths that come with studying abroad are undeniable. I came back happier and with a new air of confidence. I’ve landed internship and job interviews and received offers from all of the positions I applied to after returning from Spain—employers love to see international education. My time management is now impeccable.

I want every Hofstra student to have these same advantages, and this can only happen if every Hofstra student is aware that going abroad is an option regardless of financial or academic situation, or any other excuse you can think of.

Bottom line is: there is no reason to not study abroad. Go now before it’s too late.

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