Claire Voltarel, Campus Carrier News Editor
Nowadays, scrolling through my Instagram feed feels like a quiz to test my levels of FOMO (fear of missing out), and the results are extremely high. Every other post is a peer or classmate living out their semester in another country, experiencing unique culture, food and sights. With high school friends in Spain, Greece and Peru, and photos on my wall from my roommate’s summer semester in London, I am green with envy from my American head to my American toes. In other words, it feels like everybody is abroad but me.
So why not pull the plug and sign up? My constant desire to go abroad is always fighting with my logical left brain reminding me of the opportunities I would miss out on during my time away: working to save money, important internships for a resume boost and required major or minor classes to graduate on time. After an internal argument, I always conclude that I should stay in the States to save my bank account, efficiently finish school and get that internship that will lead to my future career. In the end, the safety of staying home outweighs the risk of extensive travelling. And while I am fully aware that studying abroad can provide me all of those opportunities and more, it can’t help but feel like a compromise.
This is not to discourage studying abroad. There is no denying the great academic and financial opportunities universities, particularly Berry, provide students. If the opportunity fits your schedule and desire, do not be afraid to pursue it.
But the pressure of living out what is supposed to be the “best years of our lives” weighs heavy, especially with the exposure to others’ experiences provided by social media. College is not the last chance you have to travel abroad in a cost-effective manner and learn in another country.
With the amount of opportunities Berry offers on campus, it is hard to find time even for a weekend getaway, let alone giving up a semester-long work position or a one-time offered major course. If your FOMO on in-state opportunities outweighs your FOMO on travelling to a foreign country or boosting your profile picture, just wait. Our youth does not graduate with us after college, so there is no harm in pursuing travel after it ends.
Internships abroad are overlooked opportunities to pursue a career, boost a resume and spend less money travelling. Many institutions and organizations, including Berry, offer abroad programs to students and graduates to gain experience in their field via an internship in another country. The price is just as cheap as collegiate study abroad programs, just without the college part. And, just like travelling in college, the experience of budgeting and saving up for the trip will be equally as helpful and meaningful.
If paying for a job isn’t your thing, many other businesses and organizations have offices and connections abroad, and are looking for eager, young workers without familial and marital obligations to be willing to travel to these worldly locations and get paid to do so.
So next time a perfect mountain view or a refreshing glass of sangria pops up on your phone, remember this experience can be for you, but you are not missing out if it is not done during your years at Berry. Inexpensive but worthwhile opportunities to travel abroad exist outside of college and your Instagram page.