A lot of college students point to studying abroad as an incredible part of their college career. And yes — studying abroad during college is an experience that may not be as accessible again. But there are several reasons why you may not be able to study at an international school. It could be your competitive academic program, financial situation, student life record, mental or physical health, or any number of other circumstances.
Despite what your travel-filled Instagram feed may tell you, college is not the only time in your life you will be able to travel. So make the most of your experience staying on campus.
Meet new people
For me, a lot of my best friends were all abroad together so I really had to put myself out there to meet new people and make plans for the weekends. Soon enough, I found myself becoming closer to people that I didn’t know as well beforehand. Now, I wouldn’t trade those friendships for anything.
Try a new restaurant or bar
While your friends are traveling around the world trying foreign delicacies, travel around your own city and find new places to eat, or find a new bar to post up in on the weekends. And when your friends come back from abroad, you’ll have so many new things to share with them because they may have a hard time adjusting as well. Trust me, there’s a lot of American food they’ve missed.
Visit your friends
If studying abroad for an entire semester or year is too daunting for you, try to visit your friends in the amazing places they’re living. No plans for spring break? Search for flights to Europe and crash on your friend’s couch for the week. It’s the cheapest way to get your abroad fix. Also, your friends will be well-versed in the ways of their city and can help you make the most of your time.
Get ahead academically and professionally
Not going abroad may give you more opportunities than you could imagine. When I didn’t go abroad, I scored an awesome internship that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I wasn’t on campus for only one semester. If your friends are all abroad as well, you have more time and energy to focus on your academics. Use this semester as one to study hard and bring up your GPA.
Pick up a healthy hobby
Join a new yoga studio (it can improve your body image and self-esteem). Start teaching a workout class at your gym. Take a dance class. Teach yourself how to cook. Trying new things is good for the soul. Who knows, you could find something that you love to do and meet awesome people through it. When faced with unwanted change, it helps to control the situation by throwing some positive changes into the mix.
The moral of the story is not going abroad isn’t the end of the world. As humans, we hate change — even when it can be good for us. Being able to adapt to a situation and make the most of it is an important life skill and it’s one you can develop, regardless of whether you’re studying in another country or staying on campus.