So You Want to Go Abroad?

Travelling has always been an integral aspect of my life. I’m always game for a weekend road trip, spontaneous flight, or even a staycation in my own city. When deciding where to attend college, Furman’s commitment to high-impact learning experiences such as studying away caught my eye immediately.  

Fast forward to my sophomore year and I was ecstatic to find out I would be studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland during my Junior fall. Acceptance letters came out at midnight, and when I opened the letter my roommate and I started jumping up and down, tears in both of our eyes. My sweet roommate had watched me go through the application process, so me getting accepted almost felt like she had also applied. We made an IMMEDIATE run to Cookout to get our usual order of Reeses and Oreo milkshake to celebrate. Everything was perfect– I was about to spend four months in one of my favorite places- what a dream. 

April rolled around, Covid-19 turned our world upside down, and we all got the dreaded email that informed us our fall trips were canceled- but, we were able to push back our trip to the spring. Unfortunately, our trips were canceled for spring as well, but Furman was incredibly proactive and offered options for the following fall- so, next semester. Although I was unable to commit to a trip in the fall of 2021, I am absolutely ecstatic for those who did choose to continue with their plans to study away! I think Furman’s proactive decision-making and quick response are testaments to just how wonderful of a school it is- always putting students (and their safety, of course) first. 

My sweet friends went abroad to Scotland and had the best time (and got the cutest pictures)

So, you’re thinking about studying abroad? Let’s unpack what this means. For starters, I think it is important to mention that roughly 60% of Furman students study away in some capacity during their time here- it is a pretty big part of many of our undergraduate experiences! We call it study away instead of study abroad because there are domestic options as well as international trips. 

Now, let’s chat about the different kinds of trips you can take. First, we have the classic semester-long option. This is just as it sounds- you spend the semester, or roughly four months, in a place of your choosing. If an entire semester is too long, don’t worry! There are other options to ensure you are still able to live out your wildest study-away dreams. 

The first and most popular unconventional study away option is to go on a May Experience, or May X. This is a four-week program that takes place during the month of May, so it is perfect for those who may not want to spend an entire semester abroad, can’t fit it into their class schedule, or feel like it might be too long to be away from home. For those of you who love traveling, you can most definitely participate in May Experiences on top of your semester trip. There is a class component to this trip, which is perfect if you need a few extra credits to graduate or if you are particularly interested in a specific subject!

Scottish Highland Hairy Coos!

Another option that Furman offers consists of trips that split the trip down the middle- you will spend some time on campus, and some time abroad. Again, this is a perfect option for those who may not be able to/ want to devote an entire semester to being away.

Regardless of which option you choose, I can PROMISE you you will grow so, so much and learn so much about yourself. You really can’t go wrong with any trip you choose- they all are so thoughtfully planned and intentionally executed. If you ever want to connect and chat more about potential study away options, you know where to find me!

I hope y’all have the happiest week!!!

Alex

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