Rebecca Pollard, Culture Editor
In the land of Hobbits, even the humans don’t wear shoes. Apparently New Zealanders have no need for footwear, leaving the majority sporting bare-feet year round on busses, in classrooms, and even in grocery stores. Not very hygienic, I’m fully aware. They also have an obsession with the term “sweet-as” (which, in their accents, always sounds like sweet-ass). The culture as a whole is far more liberal than any other I’ve found myself in contact with previously. I never fully adjusted to the University advertising various downtown bars or publishing a school magazine with a weekly column titled “Aunty Slut.” However, no matter how different their way of life is to mine, I never once found myself regretting flying half way around the world to spend a semester abroad. Here’s why, in my opinion, you shouldn’t wait another second before beginning to plan your semester abroad:
1. Your FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is 100 percent not warranted. Yes, Oneonta will go on without you, but you’ll only be missing the same things you get to do every other semester while you’re in college. You will miss your friends. You will miss the local bars and your townie-acquaintances, but you’ll be exploring a place you’ve never seen before, and I can promise that will keep you occupied enough to not be too upset that you missed a night at The Red Jug Pub.
2. For those of you who haven’t been able to travel out of the country yet, be warned that Americans do not have the best reputation abroad. In my experience Americans are stereotyped as people who don’t care much about anything going on outside of their own borders. By traveling you help to break that stigma against Americans!
3. Studying abroad looks fantastic on a resume. Going on your own to a foreign land for an entire semester shows an incredible level of responsibility. It also shows that you have an interest in other cultures, which is always a positive trait.
4. This is absolutely one of the best times to travel. Most likely you’re a single (as in not married) student who doesn’t yet own a house, a pet, or have a full-time job. As of now, you’re free from any serious commitments. Life moves quickly, and soon you won’t have the time to travel for a month, never mind six months. Studying abroad is the perfect opportunity to live somewhere completely different for a temporary period of time without the consequences that “real life” will have in store for you later (i.e. leaving behind a family or having to quit your job).
5. It really does not matter where you go, whom you meet, or what you do while abroad because it will undoubtedly change your life (or at least your perspective on life). Being in a different country with different people in a different culture gives you a new set of eyes. You get to know yourself a whole lot better, and it’s the perfect time for self-reflection and self-improvement. Studying abroad is a different adventure for everyone who does it, and finding out what your adventure is about will be an eye-opening and life-altering experience.