In the third year of college, many students set aside at least one semester to study abroad. Unlike several of my own classmates, I elected to stay behind while they jetted off to new places and new schools.
However, I am completely and 100 percent confident this was the correct choice for me and potentially, for many other students.
There's nothing wrong with choosing the familiar over the unfamiliar, especially when you employ one of the following reasons in your argument when your best friend tries to get you to take a last-minute trip to Paris with her:
1. You will save money.
Going abroad costs a lot of money. Sometimes, it seems more reasonable because you're only paying your current university's tuition in order to attend some fairytale-esque campus in Edinburgh or Glasgow, but this doesn't account for all the extras.
There's still a need for food, extracurricular activities, transportation and shopping money.
By staying home, you will most likely maintain a budget, living situation and place of employment similar to the one that has helped you survive the past two years of post-secondary education.
2. You won't be required to do paperwork.
Once you're initially accepted to your primary university, you might have to fill out a form or two, but that's it. You should then be paperwork-free, unless you find yourself switching majors or you decide to pursue a co-op.
Studying abroad will require you to fill out application forms, acceptance paperwork, transfer credit paperwork and almost certainly a student visa. Filling out those types of forms takes time and processing them can take even longer.
3. You don't have to deal with transfer credits.
Though I already touched on paperwork, transfer credits deserve their own listing because they can be such a pain.
As someone who works in a university academic success center and helps students plan out their academic careers, nothing is more confusing than transfer credits.
First, there's the issue of selecting a school with a program similar or almost identical to your current one. If the latter's the case, sometimes I wonder why people go abroad at all. I mean, is studying psychology in Belgium really better than studying it in Canada?
Secondly, once you decide on a school, you have to choose classes and then bring those classes to both your current school and your school abroad to verify that the ones you've chosen will give you enough transfer credits to graduate on time.
When you stay home, you have everything laid out for you. There's no muss or fuss with regard to your degree or its impending completion.
Even if you decide to pick up a minor or change something else, you're at your home institution, so they know exactly how to approach your situation to help you complete your degree.
Your school will also look out for your best interests because you're one of their students; you're not an interloper who will only be there for a year or less. People tend to take care of their own first, it's a fact of life.
4. It will teach you the value of human relationships.
You love your friends, but sometimes you do not like them. Sometimes, friends just get on your last nerve and you want to scream at them, but if they go abroad, you can take the opportunity to work on your friendship.
You'll know that you are true friends when both of you clear time in your schedules to call, Skype or text about your lives.
By the same token, if your friend completely drops off the face of the earth when she moves to France for a year, you'll know that your relationship is not as important to her as it is to you.
This can also apply to romantic relationships. Learning to be together, but apart is important to any form of relationship be it familial, romantic or platonic.
5. You don't have to study abroad to travel.
While some may dispute the idea that you can travel within your own community, I feel this to be a valid point. Have you ever truly explored your own city?
There are definitely neighborhoods, fields, forests or areas that you've never thought to visit before, and what better time to do so than when your friends are off having their own adventures?
Don't let yourself feel left out; exploring is a pastime for all ages, and you might be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
6. You'll get to experience your full degree stream.
This is one of the main reasons I personally chose to stay at home during my third year.
I have been looking forward to the material I will study in my third year since I first came to university, and to give up the chance to study with one of my favorite professors for the second time seems ridiculous to me.
I cannot wait to begin my courses next year, and to pass over those classes in favor of taking something general at a university in London just did not appeal to me. I love London, but right now I love my program more.
7. You'll have more stable work and volunteering opportunities.
By staying behind, you will find yourself able to get stable work for the summer and you can continue to make your time more consistent for working or volunteering.
Leaving to study in Chicago might be a great opportunity for one year, but might it not be better if you stayed for the duration of your degree, became the manager at your store and then found yourself able to pay for a doctorate at the University of Chicago instead?
If you do not go abroad, you can continue a streak of community-oriented action and potentially, move up the corporate ladder. Visas can restrict the ability of students to work abroad.
8. You'll also have more time to network.
Similar to working and volunteering, networking benefits from a state of stability and consistency. If you do not go abroad, you'll have more time to get to know your professors, your bosses and your fellow students.
Yes, going away can allow you to meet a variety of different people from different places, but to be honest, only so many of those relationships will continue after you return home.
Studying abroad is irrefutably an adventure, but staying back doesn't imply that you're being left behind. If you stay at home, don't feel stuck. You're not the only one, and you're definitely not boring because you chose something different from your peers.
Your choices make you stronger; they offer you security, and a solid sense of self. So, make your choice to stay and be proud of it. I am.