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The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

I want you to study abroad

I+want+you+to+study+abroad
Image by Bradley Beggs for The UCSD Guardian

I want you to study abroad.

You are in college. Now is your chance. It’s now or never to get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

You are in college, and college in the U.S. is downright (I won’t swear here) expensive. That means there are many resources out there for the taking, but you need to take action to get it.

Before studying abroad in Japan, I remember hearing from a professor that not a single person he knew who studied abroad regretted it. And after coming back from Japan, I, too, can testify to that.

Studying abroad has made me confident about myself. I’ve gotten more assertive, decisive, and bolder. During my time abroad, I took on the challenge of taking upper division engineering courses taught in Japanese. I traveled on my own to all 47 prefectures of Japan. And I talked to all kinds of people, from native Japanese people of various social standings, to immigrant workers and tourists from all over the world.

So what are you waiting for? Are you hesitant to apply? What if I told you that I know someone who did two back-to-back study abroad programs, then did an around-the-world trip right after that? What if I told you that I’m applying for my second study abroad program right now as a 4th year student? There’s a wealth of resources out there, and people are taking them left and right. And all you have to do is apply to get your share of it.

Don’t be intimidated by what other people do, and don’t be worried whether you will be able to do the same. You might get the opportunity, or you might not. But there are always more opportunities to come. It’s a matter of experience, and anyone who wants to build experience will inevitably have to start from scratch and bounce back from failures. I certainly did. And it was the process of applying to study abroad that slowly started changing me, even before heading to Japan.

I used to be a meek kid. I was bullied in elementary and middle school, yet when I had the chance to apply to a boarding high school on the East coast, I refused to do so because I wanted to stay with my “friends.” I regretted that decision for years, to the point where in high school, I tried to reapply again, but the opportunity had closed. Then, I was at UCSD. It was Spring 2022, when I decided on a whim to apply in my 3rd year. My little brother in high school happened to have the opportunity to potentially go abroad, and hearing that reminded me of my regrets from high school. I told myself that if he goes, then I gotta make sure I go as well. Perhaps a bit of sibling rivalry. So I started again to look for study abroad programs, which I had done before as a 1st and 2nd year student, but only casually. This time, I had started out on a whim again, but as my brother’s prospects loomed, I got more and more serious.

Let me tell you how to write a successful application: be serious. Studying abroad is a significant investment, and the people reviewing your application want to make sure that you will make the best of your opportunity. Do prior research, and while reading about the various places you could go and things you could do, make yourself excited about going. Then use that energy and knowledge to write a sincere essay on why you want to go, while demonstrating the effort you put into your prior research. There are probably other ways to write a successful application, but that was how I wrote mine to Kyoto University, and I got in!

So are you convinced to study abroad? If so, apply now! We want you to study abroad. It’s not just me who wants you to. The world wants you to. Why? Because when you go abroad, you become an ambassador of cultural exchange, you stimulate the local economy, and when you come back, you contribute to the diversity of ideas in the US (or your home country), becoming a better global citizen who can lead us into the future.

That’s why there are so many resources to help you study abroad, whether with getting started, writing your application, financing, and more. A good place to start is UCSD’s study abroad office. Here’s their website, and they have a physical location right on library walk. They’ll have everything you need. Disclaimer: I’m not paid to advertise for studying abroad. I genuinely appreciated my time abroad and hope that you will too.

Now all that’s left for me is to leave some testimonies from other students. But I hope you’ll do it. Be bold and go see the world.

“I exchanged in both Shanghai, China and Kyoto, Japan for one semester each, and I truly found the experiences rewarding. Not only was I exposed to different perspectives (which is quite rewarding as an International Relations major), but I was also able to make friends with exchange students from all over the world. The language study, tasting, and sightseeing parts are also some of the highlights of the journey.”

– Jacky, 3rd year

“I’ve studied abroad twice as well, both were really valuable experiences, in that you get to try new food, meet new people, etc. but my most important takeaway is that you learn more about yourself as well, your own situated perspective, your own values and culture. A lot of these are only apparent when there is an alternative way of life to compare to. I think two greatest things you get to practice are independence and resilience…you leave the country but it never really leaves you. A part of it stays with you 🙂”

– Louisa, 4th year

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About the Contributor
Bradley Beggs
Bradley Beggs, Lifestyle Editor
Education Graduate Student Bradley Beggs is know for his wit, charm, and humbleness. When he's not editing for The UCSD Guardian, he's wrangling 24 third graders and attempting to run his own smaller version of The UCSD Guardian.
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