When I was first applying to colleges, I was in search for a school that would allow me to study abroad in England. I even looked at one school that had a study abroad program at a virtually unknown university in Manchester, England just so I could be closer to the Manchester United games.
I know, I know, I needed to sort out my priorities.
However, once I got to school, everything seemed to change. Studying abroad wasn’t my top priority anymore.
As I immersed myself deeper into the film program here, I had a lessened desire to ever leave Fairfield.
Call it FOMO, but I couldn’t imagine leaving the film program behind for a semester abroad.
I was a member of two independent films in the fall. Both of them led to my figuring out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I was presented with opportunities that have literally changed my life.
There are also so many events on campus that I personally would have been sad to miss. It was finally my year to be among those in charge of Around the World.
I’m not going to say that there aren’t moments where I would see my friends’ pictures from France and England and Tanzania and wish that I had that too.
Everyone wants to see the sights of Europe, find a rom-com-esque love interest abroad and become a worldlier person based on their experiences abroad.
However, I’ve grown so much as a person right here on Fairfield’s campus. I’ve done things in the film program that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I spent a semester abroad.
I’ve made new friends here that I might not have found if I hadn’t been here for a semester.
Now, that’s not blatant reason for one to say, “Oh, this is why you shouldn’t go abroad.” I think it depends on the kind of person you are. I would have never been happy abroad. I like to be an hour away from my parents.
I’m a person who doesn’t like change much, which makes the thought of moving to another country for a semester give me a minor panic attack.
You really don’t need study abroad to have a fulfilling college experience. Immersing yourself in your studies and the things you love here can make you just as happy.
Europe and Australia will be there when you graduate college. I, for one, think I will enjoy my trip to England more when I have a job and can afford to go take a stadium tour of the English Premier League.
To each his own. And for me, a homebody, familiarity is key.
Something unique about Fairfield is that it’s a university founded on traditions; alumni reflect fondly on experiences that current students here still enjoy, such as the migration from Quad to Townhouses to the beach, and annual events like Midnight Breakfast and Clam Jam.
One student trend in particular has been taking our campus by storm, and I think it’s quickly becoming another Fairfield tradition.
Every year, half the junior class flies off to every corner of the world from Nicaragua to Australia, to study abroad.
Last summer, I got to drink sangria on the beach in Barcelona. I went surfing in Portugal, and got henna tattoos done by gypsies in Morocco. I ate free hot dogs in an Irish pub on the fourth of July. I saw countless works of art and medieval masterpieces; in fact, I lived across the street from one.
While I love being on campus and taking advantage of everything Fairfield has to offer, I would have never been able to experience any of this from the comfort of my Fairfield townhouse.
I, like Jen, have a big fear of missing out. I want to know everything that is going on at all times — why do you think we work at the newspaper?
However, I approached things a little differently than Jen did. How could I travel the world and still be a full-time student at Fairfield?
I found a six-week study abroad program over the summer that was a perfect fit for me. I took intensive Spanish classes four days a week, and lived in Barcelona’s historic district, among winding stone streets and ancient Roman ruins.
I spent my weekends traveling as far as I could, and didn’t turn down any opportunity. I went to a nude beach in Minorca, Spain (I was not nude) and rode a camel in Asilah, Morocco. In fact, I actually discovered that I’m afraid of camels.
I will never forget the friends I made while I was there, and the memories I made last summer. To anyone on the fence about going abroad, I can confidently say it was the best decision I’ve made at Fairfield.
In fact, it made me appreciate Fairfield more. I’m not a particularly religious person, so it can sometimes be hard for me to embrace everything Fairfield has to offer. While I learned so much abroad, and would do it again in a heartbeat, it helped me realize that there’s no place like Fairfield.