Making the Time for Study Abroad

Before I left for college my freshman year, the most common piece of advice I received from friends and family was to study abroad. However as a pre-medical student, I was told over and over again that I wouldn’t have the time to go abroad during the semesters and I couldn’t afford to go during breaks. Fortunately my junior year, I was accepted into the Rowe Scholars program through the Honors Program, which gave me funding to attend a five-week summer program in Salamanca, Spain.

Weekend trip to Porto, Portugal
Weekend trip to Porto, Portugal

I was definitely nervous to travel to a country I had never been to before, especially when I didn’t know anyone in the program. I was also apprehensive because I hadn’t taken a Spanish class since junior year in high school and I was required to take one while abroad. However, this trip ended up being one of the best things I have ever done while in college. I met a great group of people on the trip and being in a foreign country really helped me to let go of my need for structure and planning and learn to go with the flow. We found that the best days ended up being days when we took on opportunities as they came.

I was given a once in a lifetime chance to experience a brand new culture and to travel to different cities every weekend. My biggest recommendation for going abroad is to take advantage of tours and really soak in the culture of where you are. We found that our favorite cities were the ones where we took walking tours and learned about the history.  Because of the experience I had, I am currently looking into applying for another program abroad for the spring semester. For anyone who is worried about not having the time to go abroad or not being able to afford a trip, there is a way to make it happen. Don’t give up!

Plaza de Mayor in Salamanca, Spain
Plaza de Mayor in Salamanca, Spain