Thoughts on Staying Home

With all this talk about studying abroad, I thought I’d share some insight into those that stay home. In Sam Fox, there’s this thing called the Florence Program that’s been going on for years. About half of art majors, usually in their junior year, study for one semester in Italy. It’s a great opportunity, very well organized, and basically an art lover’s dream, because who wouldn’t want to spend 4 months in walking distance to some of the best Renaissance art? 

That would be me. I am part of the half that’s staying here, and unless I change my mind later, I will not be going abroad at all in my 4 years here. While I would love love love to visit Italy and experience all their sights and food, I am not someone who would be comfortable spending more than a few weeks in a foreign country. In fact, I spent around 1.5 weeks this summer visiting Canada and Alaska and ended my trip with relatives in Los Angeles for another week. While I loved this vacation, it was almost too much for me, and that was only about 2 and a half weeks! I need my stability and schedule, you know.

Another reason that I’m not going abroad is that it would interfere too much with my schedule. Obviously, the Florence Program (and I assume other study abroad) is much more limited in the classes available, and because I take so many classes outside of the art school as well, I would not have those same opportunities. I want to continue studying computer science and maybe work toward a second minor, and I want to be able to look at course listings and take whatever I want. 

Which leads to my third reason: I would like to go abroad not to study, but purely for my enjoyment. The thought of being in Florence but also having to prioritize classes is not one that’s particularly appealing to me. I’d like to be able to wake up in another country and think “hm, today is a good day to visit that museum” instead of “man, I have that project due today.”

This is not to say that studying abroad isn’t amazing! I’m sure I’ll be jealous when I see everyone posting all the great food they’re eating and all the spectacular views they’re visiting. But it’s just not the right fit for me. My hope is that I’ll be able to be able to visit Italy and other countries in Europe with a group of friends when school is the last thing on my mind, and I’ll be able to have the same amazing experiences at a time that’s right for me. In the meantime, I’ll be staying at WashU with friends who have similar stances on studying abroad as me, and we’ll enjoy ourselves in tandem with those overseas!