Sally Rountree is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Sociology major and Public Health minor at Simmons College, she is studying abroad in Buenos Aires on a custom program this semester.
In her last post, Sally tells us why she thinks study abroad is something every student should do.
Study abroad is a very different experience that can help develop your outlook on the world. Even though you will still be taking classes while you are abroad, it is very unlike your regular college life. It may also provide perspective on your area of study that you can’t quite get in a regular classroom. I think study abroad can be a really great opportunity to expand anyone’s education, and I recommend it.
Taking a class in Argentina was so different from taking one in Boston, where I go to school. I was taught by professors who came with me from Simmons College, but we still interacted a lot with CAPA and other Argentinians. One big thing we had to get used to was their culture. In Argentina people don’t like to plan ahead, so we were never sure about what we were doing the next day until the night before when we finally got an email. We never really got used to it, as we are used to everything planned out way ahead of time. Going to Argentina forced us to work in a different way than we were used to, and showed us that there are different ways of living. I think it is really important for everyone to have an idea of what other cultures, beliefs, and systems are like. We live in a global world so we need to have a basic understanding of what other parts of the world are like. Studying abroad can help open this doorway.
If you are thinking about studying abroad and taking classes that are within your major, definitely do it! It’s great to study abroad and take gen-eds, but getting to learn about your major in a different culture is a really great experience. In Argentina, I studied Public Health, which is my minor and a huge interest of mine. Seeing how public health is implemented in Argentina first hand is a learning experience I would never have if I stayed in Boston. It provided me with new insight in my area of study and gives me something new to think about as I go forward.
Of course, studying abroad is also really fun! You get to form a lot of new friendships, explore a new country, try new food, and so much more. Meeting new people was by far my favorite thing about studying abroad. I didn’t know anyone before I went on this trip. Going abroad without knowing anyone forces you to meet new people and interact with locals. Everyone I know who has gone abroad has made great friendships. With those new friendships, you can go out and explore a new place! On some study abroad trips, you will have a lot of time to explore because that is part of your learning experience. Part of study abroad is that you are expected to explore the area and learn about it on your own. This means you can do the things that interest you the most. One of the big things I was interested in when I went to Argentina was tango. I was able to take a tango lesson and go to two tango shows, one of which was on a ranch. You can have a lot of fun exploring a new place and getting to know new people.
If you are uncertain about studying abroad, my advice is to go for it. Travelling after college might become even more difficult than it is now, so this is one of the best times to do it. There are also a lot of scholarship programs that can help you study abroad. You won’t find that so much once you leave college. Definitely apply for as many scholarships as you can because they can seriously reduce the cost. Another thing to consider when you go abroad is the program of study versus the place of study. Depending on your major, you might not be able to study in a specific place. If you can, try to go somewhere that you are looking forward to. Do some research beforehand so that you know where you want to visit and what you should expect. That will help you feel more confident about your trip and more excited.
Sally's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.