When I was making my decision regarding which semester to study abroad, I heard many arguments as to why I should study abroad in the fall. From being in a foreign country during application season to potential housing complications to missing key Georgetown events and memories, studying abroad in the spring can sometimes be seen as a stressful endeavor.
However, I couldn’t be happier with my choice to go abroad in the spring! While spring study abroad may not be for everyone, it certainly has its advantages and perks.
First, being abroad in the spring did not affect my ability to find my summer internship or to interview for my on-campus extracurricular commitments for next year. If you go abroad in the spring, Skype will become your best and most reliable friend. In fact, not having as many commitments while abroad actually gave me more time to research internships and craft my applications. The same goes for finding senior year housing—I was able to sign my off-campus housing lease with a group of four friends via electronic signature with little to no stress. As for missing spring semester Georgetown events, this was a sacrifice that any abroad student faces no matter the semester and is something that I reflected on long before I went abroad, ultimately deciding that this was the right decision for me.
Additionally, having the summer to decompress and reflect on my abroad experience instead of being thrown into another Georgetown semester is something that I look forward to after returning. My study abroad experience in the Dominican Republic has been a large cultural shift, and I encourage students seeking abroad experiences in new and different cultures to think about having that three-month break before re-entering Georgetown academics.
For my program specifically in the Dominican Republic, the spring semester offers different opportunities for cultural excursions. For instance, our overnight excursion included a boating trip to observe whales in their migration season that only occurs in the spring. The baseball season, a huge sport in the DR and an important part of this country’s culture, is in full throttle in the spring as well.
Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of going in the spring from my experience is that there is comparatively less time to pull visa documents together before leaving for abroad. This means that I had to be aware of my program’s start date and the visa process during fall semester and specifically finals period, which was pretty stressful.
At the end of the day, studying abroad in the spring should be a viable consideration for all students! To potential study abroad students, weigh the advantages and disadvantages in your particular situation and do what is right for you.