“Which study abroad program is the best at FSU?”
“Where would you have gone now that you’ve studied abroad a few times?”
“Where do you think I should study abroad?”
These are but a few questions I’ve been asked recently about studying abroad, and they’re really difficult questions to answer without bias. This is mainly because almost every person who has studied abroad thinks that their program is hands-down the best program out there. And it probably was. For them.
It’s not just about the physical location. I could have been extremely happy living in Valencia or Panama or Dubrovnik or Prague. While Costa Rica and Switzerland are among my favorite places in the world now, it’s about the experiences you share with the other students who were once strangers, and now are close friends. And no other group of students can replicate that experience.
There’s more to deciding on a program than the memories someone else had the year before. Every group of students in every session at every location is different. Each student brings something to the table, and without that one person, your experience would be different.
I’ve had countless conversations with fellow study abroad students from different locations. And sometimes it turns into a conversation of who’s program did what better, how their program was more fun, what classes were the easiest. I’ve fallen victim to this petty banter. And we do this because we are so passionate about our program, so passionate about the experiences and memories that no one else can understand.
We want others who are considering studying abroad to choose our location, our program. But really, it will never be the same because no group of students will ever be the same.
If you’re considering studying abroad one day, I urge you to look into all of the programs. Not just the ones where the “faciest” of the facey go. Not just the ones where your major courses are offered. Not just the ones you think will be the best party atmosphere.
There are over 20 study sites with FSU, ranging from London to China. I chose two programs where neither of my major courses was offered. But I learned valuable lessons in each location. I chose a small town in Costa Rica and in Switzerland, where you wouldn’t picture a “wild” nightlife. But these differences made the experience that much more special, where the bartenders in each city knew us all by name. I assure you, we had our wild nights.
I’m not putting down any of the major programs whatsoever. I’m suggesting looking into cities outside the norm because you never know what city could potentially change your life forever. Like I said, every program is different for each person. Every person falls in love with “their” city, “their” classes, “their” program. And that’s just it; it’s theirs to keep. Forever.
This is why it’s difficult to tell you which program is the best, the most fun, the most “worth” it. You have to choose your program for yourself, for your own reasons. And everything will fall into place.