The Benefits of Studying Abroad for an Academic Year

Miranda Arakelian CC’17

“One of the biggest reasons that I recommend studying in Berlin for a whole year is the way it allows you to immerse yourself in the culture during the first semester and really reap the benefits your second semester.”

One of the biggest reasons that I recommend studying abroad for a whole year is the way it allows you to enjoy your time without any of the first-semester discomforts. During my first few months in Berlin I faced a myriad of roadblocks, like housing troubles, endless visas lines, and a frustrating language learning curve. From here the math is simple: if you go abroad for one semester, you may spend almost half of your time in this exhausting settling-down period!

A second semester gives you the opportunity to reap the benefits that you sowed in the fall, especially when you’re facing cultural or language shock. I arrived in Berlin with my German needing a lot of work, and I was still timid when speaking for the first few months. I’m so grateful that I was able to grow more comfortable with the language and culture during my first semester, so that I could get an internship, expand my circle of German friends, and excel academically during my second semester.

Of course, going abroad for a full year has its downsides; maybe you’re worried about leaving your friends, club activities, or family for so long. As you make your pro-con lists, keep in mind that there’s a whole host of “pros” that you cannot know yet; maybe you’ll find a new hobby that you couldn’t live without in the future, or do an internship that will change your career goals. Studying abroad for two semesters may feel like a risk, but I don’t know a single student who regrets going for the year, and I do know that almost all of the single-semester peers wished they had had more time at the end of their stay. It may take extra planning in terms of fulfilling Core/major requirements, but yearlong study is well within your reach!