Now that sophomores have turned in their OCS applications and made preliminary decisions about going abroad, our sophomore writers sound off about why they did or didn’t want to go abroad next year.
Whenever I thought about my college experience before coming here, I always took studying abroad for granted. Of course I would leave campus, of course I would go somewhere amazing, of course I would get so much out of it. However, when the time came to make my decision, I decided it would be best for me to stay on campus next year. There are a lot of factors that can go into the decision, and for me, the “No” column just kept piling higher and higher until it was finally high enough to outweigh the “Yes.” I’m definitely content with my decision. A lot of my really good friends are staying on campus as well, so I know I’ll be in great (albeit shifting) company all year long.
Despite all the great and wonderful things happening on campus, I’m trying my best to go to London this coming fall. Studying there is the stuff of dreams. I’ve been wanting to go abroad since before I found this program; my family places a lot of emphasis on travel, though my mom does 99% of the planning. I want to test the limits of my independence, you know? Figure some stuff out for myself in the big city. And, you know, learn about English literature in its birthplace. That’s hella important, too.
Even if time on the Hill is short enough, for me going abroad is an opportunity too good to pass up. I knew since before college I wanted to study abroad. Once that idea became tangible in the form of a pressing, niggling application process, I questioned myself, but still decided that I wanted to spend a semester elsewhere in the universe. I’m a Spanish Lit major, so going to a Spanish-speaking country (hopefully Spain!) will be, of course, a great way to become fluent in Spanish. Sure, the world will still be out there post-grad (at least I hope so!), but I feel like now is a formative time for me to go reap the benefits of experiencing a different culture, breaking out of my comfort zone, and eating all the tapas Spain has to offer.
Also, if I don’t go abroad, I’ll miss out on being able to do all this.
I have always been planning on studying off campus while in college. I have traveled a bit in my time, but I always wanted to spend a semester in a foreign country. The only question I had was where would I go. Initially I wanted to do a program at the London School of Economics, but it is a year long program, and I have no desire to spend a whole year away. I cruised Studio Abroad looking for programs related to Political Science and Economics where I could speak French (a language I study). Ultimately though I decided to pursue the Washington Semester, through American University. I decided that in addition to providing me with good opportunities (including an internship in D.C. and the chance to meet political and business leaders) a semester at a large university, even in my own country, would be significantly different and new for me. I come from a town much like Gambier, so to live and work in D.C. for a semester, I will be experiencing an America that is foreign to me.
One of the reasons I was so excited for college as a high schooler was to go abroad. I have been an actress for most of my life, and a dream for me was to study Shakespeare in London. I love my time here at Kenyon, but a huge part of me wants to go out into the world and explore new places and ideas. Oftentimes I feel Kenyon can be a bit stifling, and I wanted an experience that would both challenge and bolster my understanding of drama. I understand why others may not want or are not able to go abroad, but for me in the place where I am now in my life and career it is the best choice.