Chatting with Chapman: Traveling abroad is not for everyone

Chapman W.

“What I did over summer vacation is _____”

Everyone remembers that writing prompt from elementary school, right?

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There would always be that one kid who blew everyone away with his glamorous stories of travelling and lounging by the beach, making your summer of napping all day seem pretty lame by comparison.

Well, allow me to be that kid. Although, I hope to offer a point along with it all.

I spent the first month or so of the summer travelling around Europe. The trip was to study abroad, and I went to five European countries to study media and communication. Long story short, it was an amazing experience.

But, do I think that studying abroad is something for everyone? No. I hear from so many people who are heartbroken because they don’t have the money or time to travel the world in college, and I just want to say that some of those feelings are unnecessary.

I absolutely learned a lot from my time abroad, but I also learn a lot in my daily classes here at CSU. Honestly, the focus of my trip was really not the academic side of education, and that’s part of the reason that I believe studying abroad is not for everyone.

I got a lot out of my trip. I learned a lot about how to travel and more intimate sides of cultures that I had no idea about from my time in social studies classes. But, all of that was so great simply because I want to grow up to be a travel writer. So, for me the money to go was worth it. However, without trying to make assumptions about my former trip-mates, I don’t think everyone gets enough out of studying abroad to make the price close to acceptable.

Travelling can be difficult, especially for those who have never travelled before. To expect that anyone could get the most out of a trip when they’re already dealing with anxiety from being away from home is absurd, and I think that’s an additional cost that people don’t factor in when considering a study abroad.

Also, travelling really is expensive. While I was extremely fortunate to be able to go on my trip without too much trouble financially, I have to recognize the privilege that allowed me to do that and that others don’t have the same opportunities that I have. For some, paying for school is difficult enough without the thought of travel expenses.

A lot of the experience I gained while travelling was from being thrown into new cultures, and I personally think that’s something that can be done without paying for a plane ticket to Europe and staying in a hotel in Paris. America alone is chock full of so many cultural elements that I find it discouraging to believe that touristing around Europe is the only way to appreciate a culture.

At the end of the day, I will always encourage my friends to travel, if they think that they can get the worth of the trip out of what they learn. I simply don’t think that anyone should feel bad for not being able to travel for financial or other reasons.

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Also, sorry to all of my friends for the abundance of posts on social media about my trip. I’ve got family to please, you know?