Fight or Flight

Paloma Urrea Díez, Lifestyle Editor

11:59 is approaching on January 1st and students are madly clicking on their computers. One mistake, even a typo, could be the reason for rejection. When it comes to being a senior at The Columbus School, stress is palpable when walking the halls and anxiety surrounding life-decisions obscure daily conversations. Deciding whether you will leave your home country and study abroad or study in Colombia is a tough decision. In my personal experience, deciding whether studying here or in Spain became a real burden. Overthinking became a daily habit, making me extremely anxious about my decision. However, I finally realized that fear was keeping me from leaving, and studying abroad was the best decision I could make. Ultimately, leaving my home country will provide an opportunity to form strong and genuine friendships, become more mature, acquire quality education and finally have an eye-opening experience to learn about the diverse cultures the world has. 

Studying abroad means leaving childhood friends behind; however, it is also an opportunity to meet new people who will eventually become your lifetime friends. According to Odyssey magazine, “The friends you meet in college will be your friends for life. You are all living on your own for the first time and living in such geographical proximity from each other allows for them and you to see each other more often.” This is why it is the perfect environment to make friends. In contrast, the friends you make in college tend to be more diverse than the people you hung out with at school, which allows you to learn about various cultures and create an international network. When being far away from your country, you are pressured to live in a different culture. This can be challenging since you are not used to it, but in the end you’ll be learning about a new culture and having a different perspective of the world. Studying abroad will create a sense of intersectionality through a college community, meaning it makes you aware enough to acknowledge the cultural differences among us.

Most people that study abroad live alone, which helps you mature and grow in all personal aspects. TCS Learning Center coordinator and TCS alum from the class of 2009 Susana Arias, studied abroad in Universidad de Palermo located in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She shared her experience regarding personal growth. “You mature a lot in a social and emotional aspect, just the fact that you are living away from your parents and that you have to look out for yourself in a different country, not knowing the system, all of that helps you mature.” Studying abroad can be seen as a four-year training session, preparing you for the obstacles you’ll face later in life. It makes you self-reliant and independent in every aspect. Friends and family will not be there for immediate help, which makes you rely on your problem-solving skills. From learning to cook and clean your clothes to financing your own money, studying abroad creates the perfect environment for the development of these skills. 

Education abroad is significantly better than in Colombia. According to the Studee website, “One of the main reasons to study abroad is the standard of teaching, as it may be higher than in your home country. Having access to a higher level of education can help you in your chosen career, meaning studying abroad could be great value for money.” When studying abroad in countries like The United States, the first 2 years give you the opportunity to explore different careers that help you choose which path you want to take. By having more time to decide, the chances of making the best career decision increase. On the contrary, when studying in Colombia, you have to decide which career to study right away, and you will be stuck in that career for the next 4 years of your life. According to  Kaplan International Kapan Pathways, “The UK, USA, and Australia all have extremely highly regarded higher education systems, and a huge percentage of the world’s highest-ranking universities are in these few countries.” This explains why education quality is much better than in Colombia. Having a stronger education will most likely increase the chances of being a successful person in the future. 

Even though studying abroad requires adjusting and may be uncomfortable, it is a unique opportunity to acknowledge the world’s interconnectivity while creating a global network, maturing, and accessing quality education.