When deciding to study abroad, the question that crossed my mind many times was “What semester do I want to study abroad?” Many factors can affect one’s decision to study abroad, and this is a tricky question that complicates things for many. This issue may look different for every student depending on many factors; however, this is a question that every student faces and must make a decision. This blog will contain some of the struggles I had to organize before studying abroad and choosing which semester I wanted to study abroad. I will also share the benefits of studying away in the spring semester and why I would suggest this semester over studying abroad in the fall semester.
While choosing my semester abroad I thought about many factors that might affect me or my overall experience. Some of the challenges that came up were access to courses and what semester they would be available to register. As a double major (Biochemistry & Sociology), you can imagine that my requirements for my majors are a handful, and before going abroad I had to make a template and arrange my class for the rest of my time at Bates to ensure that I finish well on the expected graduation date. Although this process was a bit stressful, it assisted me in determining what semester would be best for me to study abroad while deciding between the fall and spring semesters. Through this process of making a schedule, another issue that affected me was that my home institution (Bates College) is a small institution and with this being said that means some courses are available in the first semester and not available in the second semester and this is the same vice versa. Due to this limitation, I had to reconsider my options to study abroad in the first semester as in the fall semester because it might limit my options for the spring semester if I came to my home institution. These were some of the largest fears I had that complicated my decision on whether I wanted to study abroad in the Fall or spring semester, but the journey of thinking everything through allowed me to make the decision that I believe was best for me.
On the other hand, one of the major reasons that I was excited to study abroad during my spring semester was the weather. I had heard many stories about students that study abroad in the fall semester, and I don’t like the way they started their semester and then ended with cold weather and short days. I wanted the complete opposite, and that is what studying abroad in the spring semester offered. Although I started my semester with “bad weather,” I ended my semester with long sunny days, and this was a great way to end my semester on a high note. Another advantage that I think went well with studying abroad in the spring is that I would meet all the first years and then leave my home institution whereas, most students who return to their home institutions second semester feel overwhelmed as if they are going to a new school because of all the new first years. This might not matter too many people but for me, this mattered a little bit extra this semester because my younger brother and cousin started going to Bates this year and I wanted to be there their first semester and help them settle in because I was a large influence as to why they chose Bates. Lastly, I wanted to study abroad during my spring semester because I did not want to deal with the difficulties of trying to adjust to my home institution directly after my study away experience. I’ve seen the way some students struggle to adjust to the differences, and I did not want to deal with this aftermath. Studying abroad in the spring allowed me to enjoy my semester abroad to its maximum potential, and this made my experience even more enjoyable.
Thanks for stopping by; Until next time!