As a Boston College student there is almost a 50% chance that you will choose to study abroad at some point during your academic career. Needless to say Wednesday’s Study Abroad Fair in Conte Forum drew a rather large crowd. With basically every area of the world represented at the fair, it can be an overwhelming two hours. You may go in thinking that you want to study abroad in Spain, but then you hear alluring British accents at the table behind you and decide to go to London. Since it is nearly impossible to fully explain the study abroad fair in a concise way, we’ve listed the five most important things you should have taken away from the Study Abroad Fair:
1. “I just…can’t”:
This was the most commonly heard statement throughout the night. Early on in the fair the tables don’t seem so intimidating. But as the night gets going one slowly descends into S.A.V.E (more commonly known as the ‘study abroad victim experience’). When you first get there the representatives are all smiling, there are plenty of brochures at the tables, and you feel relatively secure about where you want to study abroad. Then herds of sophomores begin entering and suddenly the pathways between tables become much more narrow. Conte Forum heats up a little bit. You feel your pace start to quicken in an attempt to beat out that kid from your history class who also wants to talk to the guy from New Zealand. You begin to feel the breath of the kid invading your space as as you ask questions about the programs. The pressure starts to mount to ask really insightful questions about the study abroad experience. Instead you get tongue-tied and ask “So, how much did you party?” Everything begins to blur together and all of a sudden you just want to sit down on the floor and eat a cookie.
You were in luck if you wanted one of those cookies from the “international café,” as the study abroad fair map so creatively named it, because there were plenty! I’m not sure if chocolate chip cookies are considered international cuisine, but they were good for gaining the energy needed to finish walking your tour of the world.
3. The accents.
Honestly, these were the true highlight of the fair, especially the wonderful voices of the Irish gentlemen at the Dublin table. I personally wasn’t planning on going to Ireland for a semester, but I was walking with a red-headed friend of mine so I felt obliged to stop with her. It turns out that the two Irish guys were actually pretty great. They asked me if I was social (I guess I leave my bed occasionally?) and then told me that there were parties every night of the week and a bar on-campus. Because that’s what studying abroad is all about, right?
4. So, do you take your classes in English?
I asked this at basically every country’s table that didn’t speak English (and accidentally at Australia’s). In all seriousness this is a major question to ask at the Study Abroad fair. You really don’t want to end up falling in love with a specific program only to learn once you are committed to it that you have to have taken Spanish CCR2 to be eligible. Though the language requirements shouldn’t scare anyone away from going to the country of their choice, you don’t want to have to spend your entire semester holed up in the library teaching yourself the local tongue.
5. So la da di da di…we are going to China?
Some people have trouble saying no to people. If so, the study abroad fair might not be the best place for you. You will be that kid (and by ‘that kid’ I mean me) who takes the full two hours to go around the fair and leaves with 30 brochures because you got roped into every representative’s eager plea to come to his country. This might not be a bad thing though if you went in with the mindset of going somewhere mainstream like London, and now find yourself heading to China.
Maybe the only way to describe the study abroad fair is to say that it was like a night at the Mods. You wander around, take a tour of a few Mods, and then decide that the night is over. You leave with a bit of excitement, some hope for the future, and a small amount of confusion about what exactly just happened.
For more information on your study abroad options, click here!