5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Study Abroad

Written by Kayla July 6, 2015

My time abroad has come to an end and I am back safely in the United States. I haven’t quite made it home yet due to delayed/missed/re-routed/cancelled flights so as I write this I am lying on the floor of the Philadelphia airport hoping that the storm occurring outside doesn’t prolong my 24-hours -and counting-0f non-stop travel. Even though I haven’t quite made it home yet I can already tell you that life after study abroad isn’t quite the same. If you are thinking of studying abroad in the future here are the top five reasons why you should not study abroad.

  1. Studying in a foreign country increases your level of tolerance. If you do not want to be more patient/ understanding/ accepting human being then study abroad is certainly not for you. You are constantly put into situations where you can’t understand people and they can’t understand you, customs in other countries may seem odd or rude to you, and you will surely encounter people who are less than willing to help you or are downright disrespectful. You learn how it feels to be treated this way and you grow from the experience. You are less confined by the division of nationalities, but more aware of the fact that we are all humans and deserve the same respect despite our differing languages or national origins.
  2. Do not study abroad if you don’t want to increase your problem-solving skills. This is arguably the most prominent skill that I developed while abroad. It’s not something that comes easily; you improve your problem-solving abilities when things go wrong. When you’re abroad things go wrong A LOT, but that’s just part of the experience. In Rome, we arrived late at night to the bed and breakfast we had booked only to find out that the gentleman working did not speak English, except for the word “leave” which he said to us repeatedly as he shooed us out the door. When you’re hungry, tired, don’t have phone service or Wi-Fi, and out on the streets of Rome at 10PM, you really have to think your way to a solution. After studying abroad, I will no longer accept problems I am faced with – I will fix them. I have thought my way out of them before with far fewer resources than I have available at home.
  3. Your time management skills will improve exponentially if you study abroad and if you don’t want this, you’re better off staying home. When you have to juggle class, activities during the week, and planning international travel, good time management is a must. If you don’t hone this skill, either your grades will suffer or your weekend travel plans will be less than stellar. It may call for some late nights to be able to give both academics and travel the attention they deserve, but my study abroad motto was “if you’re not tired, you’re doing it wrong”. You’ll be exhausted but you’ll still have the time of your life (and grades you won’t be afraid to show your parents).
  4. If you are happy valuing things over experiences then you probably shouldn’t study abroad. There is no better experience than traveling the world and meeting new people. You will come to value your adventures more than any physical item. I will take my travel memories to the grave with me; they are by far the most valuable item I have ever owned. My memories of playing in the river below the Krka Waterfalls in Croatia, walking through park Güell, touching the walls of the Colosseum, and admiring the view from the cliffs in Cinque Terre have far more worth than any designer bag or piece of expensive jewelry.
  5. The final reason you shouldn’t study abroad is that it will heighten your desire to travel and explore. If you don’t want this, then study abroad is 100% not for you. Seeing so many incredible places just makes you hungry for more – you’ll never want to stop. Having the chance to travel abroad only makes you more aware of how huge and incredible our world is and it has so much to offer.

My time in the CIMBA program has pushed me to grow in countless ways. Nothing could ever replace the experiences that I had while abroad. Being home (well not exactly home yet, I’m now sitting in the Washington, D.C. airport waiting for my flight home) is not quite as exciting as being abroad. I would much rather be traveling to a new part of Europe every weekend instead of working this summer (who wouldn’t?). However, I am beyond grateful to have had this experience and cannot wait for my next opportunity to explore the world.