Why I Didn’t Need to Study Abroad for an Entire Semester

With my study abroad trip a few days behind me, I have had the opportunity to reflect on my experience.

Before I went on my trip, I had always been afraid of even the idea of studying abroad. The thought of leaving behind the comfort of Champaign-Urbana for a foreign country was overwhelming. But then I learned that study abroad trips aren’t always semester-long trips, and you don’t have to go halfway across the world.

For any freshmen that are too afraid to study abroad for a whole semester (or at all), this post is for you.

The trip from which I just returned was a study abroad trip, but it was not your traditional study abroad agenda. My trip was over winter break, and it was just a few weeks long. Rather than flying to Italy or France, I drove 20 hours to Kayenta, Arizona, where I student taught in a seventh-grade classroom. There were 16 students and one professor on my trip, and we traveled in three mini-vans. When we weren’t teaching, we had the chance to explore the land by hiking, skiing, and sight-seeing.

It was a jam-packed schedule, for sure, but I didn’t feel that I missed out on any experiences that I would have gotten on a full semester trip. For me, the trip was a perfect length, and I learned more than I could have imagined.

So if the thought of picking up your life and moving across the world is pushing you away from study abroad trips, it is important to realize that study abroad comes in all lengths and distances. “Abroad” does not always mean Europe.

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