Why You Should Study Abroad

by Catherine Arjet

opinions editor


“Is this about the pizza back in Italy?”

“No it’s not, you just can’t have any!”

I’m sitting on a train speeding through the Bavarian countryside listening to my friends argue about over French fries. At some point one of them makes a comment that the other one takes as him calling her fat. She demands an apology and, wanting a male opinion to back her up, asks the German commuter who has been amusedly half watching us if he thinks our friend should apologize. He does. She flounces back across the aisle to her seat triumphantly. We end up talking to the commuter all the way back to Munich. In this moment I feel like I’ve achieved a peek level American-Student-Traveling-Europe. This is our third country in less than a month. I’m tired, I’m quickly going broke, I’ve worn the same five outfits for weeks, and I’m having the time of my life.

Two summers ago I spent five weeks studying abroad in London, Florence and Munich, and it changed my life. This is a surprisingly common sentiment at Millsaps. The Europe trip is just one of the many study abroad trips Millsaps sponsors. It’s been going on for decades which means that I can talk about the places I visited and things I saw with dozens of other current Millsaps students who went both before and after me. This is true for many of the Millsaps sponsored trips: they become part of the Millsaps experience. This trip gave me the feeling that I was at Millsaps, not just in a foreign country, and I’ve heard this same sentiment from many other people who went on other trips with Millsaps faculty. I had the same professors there I had both before and after I got back, and I knew many of the other people on the trip. It was probably the most comfortable way to do study abroad.

However, many people don’t want this, and there are trips for them too. Whether you want to spend a summer doing an independent study in Africa or a semester at a school in Scotland, there’s a trip for that. Since 40 percent of Millsaps students study abroad at some point in their college careers, the opportunities to travel have to be as diverse as our student body. If you have not thought about studying abroad or have but haven’t gotten around to actually working to make it happen, I urge you to. Studying abroad is something that many students mean to do at some point in their time here, but can also slip away from you if you don’t plan it well enough. Or it can seem like something you could never do because of money or time constraints. Due to the wide array of programs available, there’s something for almost everyone here.

During my time abroad, I not only learned a lot about the subjects I covered (international leadership and finance), but also about the countries I visited and the cultures there. I got to see amazing sites and do amazing things, not to mention getting about 20 weeks worth of tbt instagram pictures. It was one of the most wonderful experience of my life. If you haven’t already, I urge you to seriously look into studying abroad.