Alright, I’ll warn all of you now, this column is not like the rest. I try my hardest not to write articles all about me, because I’m not that interesting of a guy. Instead, this article is going to chronicle what inspired me to go abroad, why I went abroad and, hopefully, my story can inspire you to go abroad, too.
I want to begin this article back on Columbus Day Weekend, 2014. In April of that year I had spent two weeks in Germany, on exchange with my high school German Exchange program. As I was on tour at Ithaca College, my tour guide said that studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and after doing it myself, that couldn’t be more true. About a month later I was touring the University of Rhode Island, and I remember how cool it was when my tour guide told us about all the cool study abroad options URI had to offer. It was at that moment when I made up my mind that studying abroad would be the crown jewel of my college experience.
Flash forwards two years to the start of my sophomore year at URI. The marching band season had just finished, and Dr. Cardany asked if I would be back next year. Despite having not even looked at schools yet, I told him I would not be returning because I would be abroad. My desire to go was just that strong.
Whether you came to URI from Warwick or from Los Angeles, there is always some challenge about making the leap from high school to college. Studying abroad is the same way. It’s incredibly hard moving 10,000 miles away from home, however, I could not be more grateful for the experience. Studying abroad is one of the few times in life when you get to live in a foreign country and just take it in. It’s the best chance in life most people will get to see the world, so why not take it?
Being abroad takes you away from everyone that you knew before, bringing you into an entirely new world. Because of this, entirely new people step into your life, and that’s such a great thing! When I get back to URI I’ll have friends who go to Duke, Perdue and other American schools. Equally as important, however, I’ll have friends in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Malaysia and tons of other countries (there’s over 20 countries represented in my dorm alone.) By having those connections all over the world, it makes me a bit more connected to people at all the corners of the world. The ability to know people anywhere on earth gets your foot in the door to explore those parts of the world! You don’t have those opportunities at home.
And last but certainly not least, you still get an education. A lot of my tours ask about how studying abroad affects graduation progress, and they’re shocked to find that most people can still graduate on time by studying abroad. For instance, as long as I pass my classes here (not get a C or better, but pass), then those credits count towards my graduation progress, but not my GPA. I can’t begin to tell you how nice of a feeling it is knowing that all I needed was a 50% in my classes to have them count. All of my classes also counted in my major, so this semester alone I got 12 credits towards my communications degree, including one class at a 400 level!
I understand that this article was very unlike the rest. But my passion for studying abroad led me to having the coolest experience of my life. I leave this country in less than two weeks and I would be remiss if I didn’t share why I had so much fun, and my philosophy on studying abroad. My next column is going to be the last #sullyabroad column I write, so I hope you’ll tune in one last time to let me say goodbye. See you all next week.