Lynn Carson—You should do it!
This summer, I had the opportunity to study abroad. This was exciting for many reasons, but probably the two best reasons were that (1) I just finished my first year at college, and (2) I got to cross a country off my bucket list.
A lot of people (probably people who are no longer in college) will tell you that you can’t study abroad before your junior. This is not true! There are plenty of programs available to students in their sophomore year. Brockport even has a program available to second-semester freshman in London. In fact, Brockport has a lot of study abroad programs. If you’ve been looking into the school, you probably know that’s one of the major selling points. It was actually one of the factors that influenced my decision to come here. Besides the variety available through Brockport’s own programs, students can actually apply for any program through any SUNY school. You can feel free to browse through the links, but I can tell you right now, if you want to go there, there’s probably a program.
Now that I’m done with the shameless plugging, I’ll tell you why you should study abroad.
I did a five week (also available as a ten week) program in Costa Rica this June/July. And it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The program was a language immersion program, but more than that, it was a cultural immersion. I lived with a Costa Rican family, ate rice and beans three meals a day, and was able to see most of the popular destinations in the country, despite the brevity of the trip and extensive classwork. As a Spanish major, there’s really nothing better I could do than ship myself off to a Spanish-speaking country. My conversational Spanish had dramatically improved by the end of the trip.
Besides the academic improvement, the trip also helped me explore interests I had little opportunity to explore before. Costa Rica is one of the most popular eco-tourism spots in the world, so I was able to explore nature and hike, which can be harder to do with my schedule (and lack of transportation) in America. Finally, it helped me forge new friendships, with people not only from all over New York, but in Costa Rica as well.
I know that someday, I’ll go back to Costa Rica, and, perhaps more immediately, study abroad again for longer.
tl;dr study abroad, you won’t regret it, and I personally cannot wait to do it again.