Today is the first day this semester that you could rightly refer to as Sweater Weather. The day started out in the low 70s and the temperature has dropped into the mid 60s. It’s overcast and grey and we’re starting to see some color in the trees. The forecast for the week looks a little bit rainy, but it won’t crack 80 degrees. At long last, it is starting to feel like fall.
Studying abroad is a transformational experience for most students. Many say it is the best semester they spend as a college student. It was for me.
To be able to go to the program of your choice, you may need to have certain GPA requirements, so it is wise to look into those options sooner rather than later. The Study Abroad Fair is a great place to get started.
I’ll put in a word about timing of the study abroad semester, too, because this is something my office fields a lot of questions and concerns about. There are pros and cons to studying abroad in the fall vs. spring semester. Students ought to be aware of some of the benefits and concessions they might have to make depending on when they decide to go.
A large portion of our students go abroad in the fall of their junior year. Some of the pros of going abroad in the fall is that students get the chance to go abroad with friends in the same program, or they can visit each other in their respective cities and always have places to stay and people to visit. A potential con of going abroad in the fall is that when those students return back in the spring, they have to fill in the empty bed spaces from students vacating to go abroad, taking a semester off, etc. So the returning students may end up living in a residence hall that is not their first choice, and/or with a person they might not previously have known.
So students have to ask themselves ‘What is most important to me?’
If the most important thing is for them to spend a semester in the residence hall of their choice with the roommate of their choice, the answer might be to go abroad spring of their junior year – and understand that there will be fewer Wake students abroad at the same time.
If the most important thing is to be abroad in the fall when their other Wake friends are abroad, then they must understand their residence hall situation might not be what they most want.
I call this the Betsy Binary – sometimes you have to make choices. You can have the item in Column A (ideal residence hall situation) or the item in Column B (sharing the abroad experience with lots of friends) but perhaps not both at once. It’s just about setting priorities and being willing to be flexible with the outcomes – also activities that happen a lot during any abroad experience.