On the Hilltop or Around the World
Published: Friday, February 8, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 8, 2013 03:02
I always knew I was going to study abroad. For me, it was never an if, but a where. As a high school senior applying to college, I imagined myself walking through my future campus and then walking the streets of Europe. Now that I am a sophomore, however, the prospect of studying abroad is no longer a distant fantasy. By the end of this semester, I will know what faraway land I will explore next fall. I wish I could close my eyes, spin a globe and point to a random spot. “There! I’ll just study there!” If only it happened that easily.
First, you need to make the decision to leave Georgetown. Even I — a determined jetsetter — sometimes waver in my resolve. The question of whether to study abroad or not presents no correct answer. I love this school. Fall is my favorite season, and nothing matches a Georgetown autumn. Homecoming, Halloween, the Christmas season: Can I really leave it all behind? I know that I will only be gone one semester out of eight, but that means missing one Georgetown fall out of four.
I first experienced this feeling when my roommates and I were choosing our housing for next year: an ideally located, adorably colored townhouse. I couldn’t wait to live there — to hang out with my roommates, host friends, decorate for Christmas. Oh, wait — I won’t be here for Christmas. Someone else will be doing these fun things in my place instead. Right, I forgot.
This feeling of uncertainty, however, simply reminds me that I chose the right school. I second-guess my decision to go abroad because the prospect of spending even one semester away from my beloved university makes me sad. The outcomes present a win-win situation: I study abroad and love it or I stay on campus and love it. Either way, I can’t complain.
So, it’s settled. After much rumination, I’m sticking with my original plan. Unfortunately, after making the decision, the process really just begins. Georgetown offers students study abroad programs in many countries and continents across the world. If a student wants to go to a place or through a program not offered by the university, they can work with administration to find a way to do so. With so many opportunities come even more decisions.
I know I want to study abroad in the fall, ideally in Europe. I like the idea of living in and learning about a specific city and country, while easily being able to travel to others nearby. My interest in the Spanish language and culture led to arriving at Spain as my final destination.
After attending a study abroad fair, I realized that no set program that suits me exists. A representative for the Spain programs informed me that it seemed unlikely that I will be able to study abroad in Spain in the fall. As a very appealing back-up plan, I started looking into studying in Argentina. Now, after learning more about this program, I am uncertain about which option I actually prefer.
With second semester in full swing and applications due on Feb. 12, the time has come for all those considering studying abroad to get serious. Every student needs to sift through many programs for varying countries, majors and language skills to find a match. So far, I’ve learned that — like many things at Georgetown — you have to get active and take the process into your own hands. At this point, the idea of never attending another study abroad-related meeting feels so near, yet so far.
Studying abroad is not a requirement, and no one will remind you of a deadline or pity you if you miss it. After sneaking my first peek at the application this past weekend and scurrying to complete it, I still need to fill out multiple forms and essay questions in an attempt to just get a nomination to study abroad. Many more applications surely follow upon nomination. Though the process may be annoying, I have never encountered anyone who regretted going through it and spending a semester in an amazing foreign country. For those choosing not to study abroad, please just don’t forget about me when I’m gone! And leave my seat open at Qdoba every Monday.
Danielle Webb is a sophomore in the College.