Column: Studying abroad is one of the best college decisions I’ve made

Juliette St. Romain
Oxford Stories

Making the decision to study abroad was one of the most rewarding decisions I have made in my college career thus far. Being in my third year at this university, I came to the decision to study abroad at the beginning of my spring semester of my sophomore year.

Coming to this decision was hard. Scrolling through social media, you often see other students traveling and studying in cool places. If you are like me, you have the urge to travel and have these experiences, but you hate leaving Oxford.

You hate missing out on the fun activities every semester. In the fall, you miss football season, and in the spring, you miss all of the fun festivities, such as Double Decker.

I was unsure what I wanted to do, and where I wanted to go. After months of looking into everything and going through the process, I found that Ole Miss offers short study abroad terms. This means that instead of studying abroad for a whole semester, you have options to go at different lengths of time throughout the summer, or even on a study USA trip. These options sounded perfect for me and was just what I was looking for.

The term I chose was a short term, three week course this past July. Each class you choose to take happens over the course of three weeks. In order to take two classes, you would have to be there for six weeks, and so on.

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When studying abroad, I thought it was important to go with family and friends. Luckily for me, I had the option to take both. My twin brother, Turner St. Romain, and my best friend, Sienna Johnson, came along on this journey as well.

Collectively, we decided to make the trip to London. For our course, we decided to take a photography class at the University of Westminster. This photography course counted as my diversity requirement, which goes toward getting my degree.

After filling out all of the paperwork and housing accommodations, I was more than ready for this adventure when spring semester ended.

At the beginning of the summer, my parents were a bit hesitant about letting me and my brother go overseas. This was because of the violent acts of terrorism that were happening throughout Europe and in London at the time. The London Bridge attack and the stabbing at Borough Market took place exactly one month before we were set to make landfall.

I am very confident when I say that we should not live in fear of terrorism. Be cautious at all times, yes, but make sure to enjoy where you are.

I have never felt so safe as I did in London this past summer. I could tell that the city had taken extra precautions with safety and concerns for its inhabitants’ well being. This made me enjoy my experience a lot more and have more piece of mind.

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Sienna Johnson, my friend who accompanied my on the trip, also had an amazing time. “Not only did my study abroad experience teach me about a whole new place and culture, it also taught me so much about myself,” she said. “Stepping out of my comfort zone and learning to adapt to my changing surroundings is something that I know will greatly benefit me in the future.

“My advice to anyone interested in studying abroad would be to choose a class to take that you will enjoy. I chose a class that I was genuinely interested in rather than one just to meet a certain requirement, and it made my experience so much more enjoyable. I encourage everyone who has the opportunity to study abroad to take it. It truly is an incredible experience.”

The experience was eye opening and gave me a whole new perspective on the world around me. Throughout the three weeks, I was immersed in a culture that was unlike my own.

One of my favorite things was meeting new people from all over the United States and the world. I met individuals from Orlando, Alabama, North Carolina, and even Denmark.

Getting to hear each individual’s way of life was interesting. It was  cool to hear about other schools that are so different and unlike my own.

I encourage everyone to study abroad. Whether it is for a whole semester or three weeks, this experience made me grow as an individual and become more independent. It made me feel more confident in myself and in my ability to navigate life after college and beyond.

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