Don’t hesitate, just travel abroad and study

by Cassandra Kaawaloa, Contributor

One of the many opportunities San Diego State offers its students is the chance to study abroad. SDSU is nationally ranked 15th in the number of students sent abroad, which is not a surprise considering the university’s resources for students to live, study, volunteer, teach, research and intern abroad are endless. Some majors and programs even require it to graduate.

Mandatory or not, you should go.

Some believe life starts at the end of one’s comfort zone. Any student at SDSU can relate, as moving out of the home and into dorms in a new city or even just attending a university at all is a big change. With this change came new friends, experiences and opportunities one wouldn’t have received otherwise. So why not take that same experience and maximize it?

Moving from home all the way to a new state is difficult, even moving from one city in California to a different one is hard. Leaving your country to one that potentially has a different language, climate and even social norms is huge. Learning what comes with a new country and a different kind of lifestyle changes a person and allows them to grow.

By moving abroad and understanding another country’s education system, government policy and general ways of life, we open ourselves to a new perspective and a more open-minded attitude. We learn to understand differences in people and appreciate other cultures.

We meet new people and learn new stories, some of which might resonate within us so deeply that we reconsider our ways of thinking and behaving. Perhaps we enjoy the country so much we stay, or contrarily miss our own beautiful country so dearly we learn to appreciate it and all of its glory — and its flaws.

The financial burden of studying abroad is not to be debated; it’s expensive.

Airfare alone can be painful, but thanks to SDSU there are numerous ways to get around it. Financial aid and scholarships are always available. There are even paid internships abroad that students can apply for, giving them working experience and the means to travel and see the world.

Bottom line: Change is good.

Try the local Costa Rican cuisine and fall in love with Italian gelato and Port wine. Did you know the Portuguese figure of speech for describing someone as attractive is, “as good as corn”?

Spend a few days getting lost somewhere new and find yourself along the way.