Not Forgetting the ‘Study’ in Study Abroad
A week-long break in the middle of the semester left most of us Stirling FYSAE students ready to travel as much as possible in that appealingly long time period. But, back to reality, most of our essays were due around this time period, and lots of stress ensued as we balanced academics and traveling.
Somehow, we found ways to balance everything in our schedules. Some wrote essays or outlines a week before the trip in order to get a head start. Others had no choice but to submit essays while traveling outside of Scotland. Now that the essays are miraculously finished, we look back and wonder how we were able to reach the word count, generate topics, and proofread the finished products while daydreaming and gazing at the new scenery we were in.
I finished a large part of my Reading Week work beforehand. But despite my best efforts, there was still work to be done. I found myself living out of a backpack for nine days— with a large laptop included. Instead of taking long strolls at night in Venice or having a siesta in Barcelona, I worked on my essays. It was definitely all worth it in the end, and I was still able to see everything I wanted to in my travels.
We explored various countries in Europe, with students visiting Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Czech Republic, Ireland, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, and Portugal. Many of us planned our trips months ahead and were still planning until the last day.
It is easy to forget that study abroad isn’t all fun travel experiences and stories, even though that is a gigantic part of the true appeal. Having that experience on top of exploring Europe has built character and steadfastness and encouraged me to venture further into even more journeys of life.