Editor in Chief
You’ve probably heard the above in some form or another while you’ve been around these parts. Everyone goes abroad, takes cool photos, brags about it for a few months, and then everyone thankfully moves along. No- you should not study abroad because it will “change” you. In my experience, living in another country “changed” me and my friends just as any other year might have. You also shouldn’t study abroad because Holy Cross keep tells everyone how amazing it is. I don’t doubt that the administration’s motives are sincere, but I also know that if everyone decided to stay on campus next year, people would be living in Crossroads and the Fieldhouse.
So why should you study abroad? In layman’s terms, it’s just a really fun way to spend your year. Being able to travel around at student rates is incredible, and a limited budget took me everywhere from Budapest to London and from Krakow to my temporary Dublin home.
Also, and this is the real shocker, Holy Cross does not have everything! I was able to join societies (clubs but with free beer) that HC doesn’t offer- I competed on a debate team full of kids who had competed at the European championships, and I was also able to relive my high school glory days on an American Football team. No matter where you might choose to study (maybe even a non-English speaking country for those of you more cultured than me), I can guarantee that you’ll find a great society with some cool people. Just expect to keep being asked how you pronounce certain words.
Did I mention that it’s a hell of a time? You definitely won’t find this in the HC study abroad pamphlets because your helicopter Gen X parents would protest the school. For those who enjoy the odd drink or two (this is a hypothetical of course, eighteen-year-olds definitely don’t drink and definitely shouldn’t be legally allowed to even though they can everywhere else), you’ll find that, wherever you go, the drinking culture is far more pleasant. It’s almost as if the drinking age being 18 forces parents in other countries to teach responsible drinking! Crazy!
But life isn’t all about drinking. The only thing that I’ll say that would make it sound like the Study Abroad office has me in their pocket is that everyone here at HC was very helpful with getting us great housing at Trinity. All the Irish friends I made had a thirty-minute walk to campus while we lived within the walls of the damn place. It was great with the only downside being that it didn’t help the whole “privileged American” trope. But hey, freedom, right?
To address one thing I was really concerned with, and I’m sure many others are: When applying for programs I had this incredible fear that that Holy Cross wouldn’t be here when I got back. Not that the school would physically leave, I mean, how would that even be accomplished? Food for thought as America celebrates 4/20. But honestly, I could not have been more wrong. I room with three people who I did not study abroad with, I’m still friends with the squares (I say this lovingly) who did not go abroad, and I have whole new set of people I would never have really gotten the chance to know. For me, it was a win-win. Plus, you’ll get the added benefit of coming back to HC, telling really cool stories about foreign countries, and having people sarcastically respond, “Wait, did you study abroad?” I mean, if there’s any selling point, that’s it.
“James why are you writing this now you got back from abroad like a year ago, get over it.” Touché. But as I wind down my time here, I’ve been really thinking back to the memories I’ll look back most fondly on when I’m washed up in thirty years. My time abroad is most certainly at the top of my list. It should be at the top of yours too!