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If you have a conversation with anyone who has traveled, chances are they won't tell you not to do it.

You will never hear, "Don't see the world. It's not that great."

Traveling is anything but overrated, especially for college students searching for some worldly insight, personal growth and invaluable escapades.

Last semester, I had the privilege to study art and English literature at the University of Westminster in London.

This adventure of a semester was life-changing in more ways than I could have predicted. Full immersion into a different culture is a beautiful, eye-opening experience.

Not only can you learn how other people live, but you can understand more about your personal capabilities. Tolerance and comfort levels are tested to the extreme. You begin to anticipate challenges.

It might sound ludicrous to claim living in Europe is a challenge, but it wasn't all delicious food and exquisite art museums adorned with Monets and Van Goghs.

Studying abroad is speaking broken Spanish to irritable bus drivers when you're lost in Barcelona at 10 p.m. It's taking a nine-hour train and ferry ride across the English Channel with a backpack and bottle of wine. It's sleeping on a restaurant booth in that ferry, backpack clutched to your chest because you're too exhausted to stand. It's having your world turned upside down and shaken.

Even with the promise of an unparalleled cultural experience and endless tasty cuisine, traveling abroad poses some inconveniences.

The programs are costly and course credits earned abroad don't always match your major's course requirements.

This is why the tedious process requires careful planning and consideration. Luckily for students, the ASU Study Abroad Office is resourceful and accomodates every step of the way.

Student loans and grants are available, and many scholarships will cover the programs fees.

Whether your destination is England or somewhere with a more desirable climate for Arizona natives, chances are that ASU offers a program for you.

According to the ASU Study Abroad Office's website, ASU administers over 300 programs in more than 60 countries. The office, conveniently located in the Tempe Center, offers a plethora of program information for students to stop by and explore.

Studying abroad is worth it.

It's worth the monetary strain and hassle of course equivalencies. If you're a student with a few semesters left, I encourage you to leap at the chance to better yourself by gaining a new appreciation of the world.

Living in a different country is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that teaches patience, understanding and cultural awareness. Daily life poses typical inconveniences that leave us unaffected. Only extraordinary obstacles can allow us to understand our capabilities.


Reach the columnist at or follow her at @IsabelleNovak


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