I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not dreaming. Yes, I really am in Thailand.
For the longest time, I have wanted to travel. I’ve always imagined that I’d end up in a different country. But, I found myself in the same state that I went to middle school in. I was a junior in college, just working on getting my degree, dreaming about better days and white sand beaches. I kept telling myself that I couldn’t study abroad. It was too expensive. I’d miss out on experiences here. I’d have to push my graduation date back later. These are all excuses I made that, in the end, turned out to be untrue.
Making the decision to study abroad is a hard one; it is an investment, it is a lot of work, but it is worth every penny and every minute.
I finally did my research and realized that, first off, studying abroad is absolutely affordable. Any financial aid that you have at your home university will most likely transfer over. There are also hundreds of scholarships offered from USAC, your home university, and outside organizations. Doing a little research on what is offered will absolutely pay off in the end.
Next, I had to think about leaving my friends and family in the U.S. for a whole semester. Yes, it was hard. But, I realized that they were so happy and supportive of me. They knew that this would be a beneficial experience for me and so, they understood. Of course, I thought about all the hangouts and basketballs games that I would miss out on. Then I realized that those things would all still be there when I was back! And there were many more experiences that I could miss out on here in a new country. There are so many new people that I’ve met, so many new foods that I’ve tried, and things that I have seen that I never thought I would see.
Lastly, I was worried that studying abroad would set back my graduation date. In fact, it didn’t at all. More credits than you would think are able to transfer over. Many academic advisors are able to help in this field. Before I left, I met with my advisor and was able to get the maximum amount of credits to transfer over in order for me to graduate on time.
There are so many excuses that I had come up with, reasons not to study abroad. Every single one of these I realized was insignificant. Studying abroad has truly changed my life. I can’t imagine missing out on an experience like this. Being exposed to a new culture is so humbling and tells you so much about yourself.
Studying abroad has truly changed my life. I can’t imagine missing out on an experience like this. Being exposed to a new culture is so humbling and tells you so much about yourself.
So, my advice to you is to just do it. Buy the ticket. You won’t regret having the time of your life.
Amanda Ireton attends college at Boise State University. She is currently studying abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand for Spring 2017 semester. All of the photos in this article were taken from Amanda’s Instagram page @amandajadeireton.