I finally relate to the stereotype of the people who start their sentences with “When I was abroad…”. My semester in Madrid has been my best semester yet, and honestly, I hope I can share it with anyone who will listen and help anyone else who wants to have the best semester of their lives. This semester also felt like the quickest semester to date, however when I think back to first getting out of the taxi and stepping into my apartment, it seems so long ago. And when I think back to all that I did and all that I learned during these past 5 months, it seems even longer. 24 cities, 14 countries, 11 hostels, 4 airports slept in, and 4 overnight buses taken. Studying abroad definitely had its frustrating moments (especially in the beginning), but it has also been the most rewarding experience I have been a part of.
And for anyone questioning whether they should do it, all I have to say is: 100% Go. For. It. Whether it’s a week, month, semester, or year, I encourage you to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and let yourself grow. Speaking from the semester long point of view it was entirely worth it. If you are thinking about doing the semester program you should do your research and be warned that Fisher’s program relies on you to be very independent and a good planner. But if you think you can handle this well, you will create an unforgettable experience and gain another city to call home.
For those who are looking to do a semester long program, when looking into a city there are a few initial things to keep in mind:
- How many classes will transfer back to OSU? The earlier you can plan this the better. Not all host institutions have the same amount of pre-approved classes, and keep in mind the process to get classes not on the pre-approved list can be difficult.
- What is the cost of living? This is something I didn’t even think of when picking my program and I lucked out in that Madrid has a very low cost of living. If you’re looking to travel on a budget, try comparing costs of living between cities.
- How can I fund this? I believe doing semester long programs allows you to get more bang for your buck, and thankfully, OSU has so many resources for study abroad scholarships. Consider STEP funds, the Office of Global Business, and OIA for lots of study abroad scholarship opportunities.
Finally, I know I keep saying this and you probably get the point, but spending a semester abroad was truly an enriching experience inside and outside the classroom that has allowed me to meet people and create memories I will never forget. If you have any questions about the Fisher Exchange Program or general exchange advice, feel free to reach out to me. So if you are ready to go all in and reach outside of your comfort zone- pack your bags, the world awaits.
(Sidenote: I also included some photos from cities around Spain to hopefully convince you further)