About 600 Brown students go abroad every year. Between researching, applying, and preparing, the process can be daunting. In order to help combat some of the confusion and give students a realistic look into the study abroad experience, an info session called “What I Wish I Knew: Students Perspectives on Studying Abroad” was held last week.
The program started with upperclassmen saying where they went abroad, what they wished the OIP helped more with, and what piece of advice they could give. Keep reading to find some pieces of advice that kept coming up, for any stage of the process you’re in.
Figuring out where you want to go:
No matter where you want to go or what you want to do, you have options. Maybe too many options. There are so many programs to choose from (or petition for) that you’re going to have to do some digging to find the one that fits right. One suggestion for narrowing it down is setting two goals that you want out of your abroad experience. Weigh all the programs based on those two basic criteria to start. So you want to learn a language? So you want to be fully immersed in a place without other American students? So you want to get a better understanding of foreign political systems first hand? Figure out where best you can do just that.
If this looks familiar, it’s because it was your lounge last semester -Vartian Gregorian B 352
A little before 5 p.m. EST on January 13th, the majority of students returning from semesters abroad were assigned rooms via ResLife. They received everything from singles in Grad Center to doubles, triples, and quads in various buildings with randos roommates they were not previously acquainted with. A select number of students were assigned to *triples* in Vartan Gregorian Quad (New Dorm A and B): rooms that were previously lounges.
The unfortunate souls placed in these *triples* were told by ResLife that the situation is “temporary.” However, the email relaying that information read:
“Please note this space is a temporary room, as permanent space becomes available over the remaining weeks of August the office of Residential Life will work with you to relocate.”
August? It seems like that was copy + pasted from previous summer assignment emails.
New Dorm B 352:
In contrast to buildings like Wayland and Hope College (which frequently have their lounges occupied), in New Dorm, each floor’s lounge also doubles as the floor’s kitchen. As of now, only the fourth floor kitchens in buildings A and B remain unoccupied, and available for cooking. Sans meal plan residents are naturally concerned about preparing food next semester.
With study abroad decisions in the near future for many underclassmen, the campus seems overwhelmed with travel-relevant questions. Sophomores on BlogDH had our own questions, so we created a Blog panel in order to answer some of the basics, including the dichotomy between studying abroad in the Fall and the Spring. Our Fall correspondent went to Copenhagen, Denmark, and our Spring correspondent went to Paris, France.
Will I implode on myself if I miss Spring Weekend?
Spring: Um, no. If you go your junior spring, you’ll still have your senior Spring Weekend, which is the most important. Depending on where you go abroad, you might also get a Spring Weekend-esque concert. I was in France when gay marriage was legalized, and MIKA gave a free, outdoor concert. There were thousands of people, the performance was amazing, and I didn’t have to wake up at an ungodly hour to give BCA my money.
Is it more fun to have warm weather when I arrive or at the end of my stay abroad?
Fall: Particularly for the destination in which I chose to study abroad, it was really great having warm weather when I arrived. Being able to explore an unfamiliar, new home in the sunlight and warmth was a way to make the transition much smoother. More specifically, the place I went also increasingly loses hours of light by the minute, so by the time I left in December there were only six hours of daylight. I couldn’t imagine trying to navigate the streets of a foreign city in the darkness.
Spring: I enjoyed going from cold to warm because it meant the weather could only get better with time. I also chose to study abroad in the spring because I hate Providence weather from January-April. The way I saw it, if I’m going to be cold, I might as well be cold in Europe.
What’s the deal with commuting?
Fall: It differs based on what the details of your program are. Some are situated on campuses on which all students live, whereas others (like the one I attended) are more of “commuter” schools. If you are studying abroad in Europe, however, the public transportation systems are almost guaranteed to be very functional and easy to navigate. The program will usually cover your commuting costs, as well.
If you’re a junior, odds are one of your friends or acquaintances just got back from studying abroad. They made Facebook albums with stupid names that feature pictures of them in front of French landmarks or playing with children in India or drinking lots of legal beer. They’ve told you all the “cah-razy” things they did after drinking absinthe in Prague or staying out until 6a.m. in Berlin. You pleasantly nodded and remarked on how interesting their experience was for the first two weeks, but now you’re getting pretty sick of it. Why not just replace your friend with a random study abroad phrase generator (since that’s all they are now anyway)? Well, if you want to, Blog’s got you covered.
When I lived in Paris I always used to drink wine next to the Eiffel Tower with this artist you probably haven’t heard of .
The hardest part of muploading is, without a doubt, choosing a proper title for your Facebook photo album. Naming it seems as important to our generation as naming your first child. You know your title is something everyone will inevitably stumble across during their daily Facebook trolling. While you will never be judged upon your album name nearly as harshly as you will be by the blurry reminders of last weekend’s events that it contains, you can’t deny that an ample amount of thought goes into its christening.
You can take your title in a multitude of directions. Some name albums like a Nicholas Sparks book of nostalgic college memories, which usually just makes other people uncomfortable. How deep can a collection of iPhone photos, all showing the same ten people sitting on the floor of a dorm room and holding red cups be? Others give a total of zero fucks and go wild with the nomenclature–preaching school spirit, spitting puns, and tryna turn up as much as one possibly can on Facebook. Ultimately, the many traps of album naming the average college student falls into can be categorized neatly.
Together, the writers of BlogDH collected the best examples we found from our Facebook friends around the country —actually, around the world — to break down this millennial art for you. Read our epic catalogue after the jump:
It’s been three months since I got to Europe, and I have two months to go. While I feel I’ve been getting the hang of this whole living abroad thing, I consciously try to not let my head get so big as to annoy the hell out of my friends on campus. Because let’s be real… some kids can go a little overboard with their oversharing on Facebook and Twitter while abroad. A lot of the times they try to justify their humblebrags by tagging whatever they post with #abroadproblems. But #abroadproblems isn’t a scapegoat, and it certainly doesn’t give you permission to show off how ~fabulous~ your life is. Here are things that are not problems:
“Ugh I hate airport lines. But going to Rome! #abroadproblems!” Ah, the classic #humblebrag. Being drunk at an airport sucks, especially when TSA is in a foreign language and they’ve just started yelling at you for some inexplicable reason. But the privilege of traveling is the polar opposite of a problem. So kindly omit the hashtag, and make your way through security, s’il vous plaît.
“Changing your profile picture weekly. #abroadproblems” Studying abroad means taking pictures of any and every menial thing you do/eat. That’s a given. (Confession: my Instagram feed is now 70% food, and I’m not about to stop.) But if you’re constantly updating your social networks, you musn’t be doing anything too interesting. Plus, there’s no need to document every time you go to the Eiffel Tower/Tower of Pisa/Tower Bridge/any other European Tower. Continue Reading
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