Student gives advice about studying abroad

By Colleen Rakowski
Guest Writer
crakowsk@lhup.edu

October 4th, 2012

Photo courtesy of Colleen Rakowski
Colleen Rakowski, a senior studying communication, in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

I studied in the region of Alsace in France, in a little town called Mulhouse. It is over on the east side of France and borders Germany and Switzerland. I traveled around Alsace so much while I was there because of the culture. The region was part German, so the culture was completely different compared to the rest of France. They even had their own language. You can learn so much just in the town you study in; I know that I definitely did.

I know that almost everyone has looked at the different countries on the study abroad list and realized that they wanted to go abroad. I know from experience that it is definitely worth your while. It does cost a lot of money to go, but it is worth it.

I was pretty concerned about how much it would cost to go abroad. The tuition is the same as tuition at Lock Haven University, and then you pay for housing and anything else you want. My advice is to just save up to go. Travel in Europe is so easy and you can get a train to and from wherever you want to go. I went round-trip to Paris for around fifty euros ($65), which was an eight hour round trip.

By using cheap travel sites and checking out the trains, you can go anywhere you want in Europe. Using your resources and travel sites like easyjet.com, studentuniverse.com and always looking up the trains and see what discounts are offered is the best way to travel. In Europe, there are usually travel cards that you can get. My region in France offered 25 percent off with a discount card.

I went to Berlin, Paris, and all over the region I was in while in France. I learned so much about the history of these different cities. In Berlin, I saw all the things from the war that many people may never see. Anywhere you travel to you can learn so much about that country and the culture there. Even if you are not in Europe, you will learn about whatever cultures you visit.

I cannot say how much I learned and grew as a person while I was there. While I was there, I decided on my second major, French, because I loved it so much. I am definitely going back sometime after I graduate to see everyone again. It is such an awesome experience to go abroad and meet people from all over the world. A year after leaving, I still talk to a lot of people I met when I was in France. So if you are thinking of possibly studying abroad, just do it. It may seem daunting when you think about living in another country, but honestly you learn to stand on your own two feet and deal with situations you may not have encountered before.

 

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