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Leave the Bubble

From the moment I stepped on to Siena’s campus, it felt like home. I was still in high school, but I knew I would be back. When I began my freshman journey here, all I kept thinking was “I am never leaving.” Why would I want to leave a place that feels just like home? I answered that question for myself when I visited the Study Abroad table at my first club fair in September of 2015. Imagine exploring the world for six whole months on my own while I was still this young! You will not be able to travel for this extent of time until you are retired, and by then you are not as lively or energetic as you used to be. College is the time to branch out and begin a new adventure, in a whole different part of the globe.

The number one reason to study abroad according to Student Universe is because “now is the perfect time.” You are approximately 20 years old. You are at the point in life where you want to learn new things (languages, cultural differences, etc.) You want to make new friends, aside from your family here at Siena. You have been in a small bubble here on campus, and you want to see different perspectives. You will be living amongst the locals; imagine the stories and the memories you will make. You will grow as an individual, for you will be practicing living independently. Did I think I could do it? I had my doubts, but I knew I would regret not going. Studying abroad was the best decision I have ever made, aside from choosing Siena as my undergraduate school.

I studied abroad in Glasgow, Scotland. This city was not a touristy one, so I was able to adapt right into the local culture. I became a regular at the cafes, I found the best views in the city, and I studied at a university that mirrored Hogwarts from Harry Potter. Glasgow was a complete turn around from Siena, but I think it was a wake-up call as well. Growing up in a very small town and then attending Siena, I had never been exposed to anything like that. Did it shock me? Yes. Did I love it? You bet. Being in Glasgow made me consider living in a well-populated, always bustling area after I graduate. It opened my eyes to endless opportunities. I ended up traveling to ten different countries while I was abroad and over 15 cities. I took many pictures and videos, and many of them were featured on Siena’s Study Abroad social media platforms. I wanted to share that I could still love and enjoy a semester, even if it is not right here at Siena. I received a job offer from the Study Abroad Office, and now I am the Marketing Intern for my whole senior year. I am still able to be involved in study abroad, even after I have come back.

Of course, there are reasons that a student may not be able to study abroad for a full semester [athletics, health issues, academic programs, etc.]. However, if you are able to, do it. All scholarships and financial aid carry over to your study abroad program. I believe that you are taking the easy way out and staying in your secure little place if you remain here at Siena. I agree, Siena is a homey, comforting place to live. Regardless, have the courage to pop the bubble. Get out there and see the world while you are still young and thriving. Bring back memories and seek out opportunities when you are there and for when you come back. Take the chance. Study abroad.