Reasons to Study Abroad!

Welcome back from Christmas break! Since I went home to California over the break, I didn’t get to see how much snow Michigan got. Hearing from my roommates that there was hardly any really surprised me and once I flew back, inches upon inches piled up and were blowing very aggressively. I’m currently writing this from the living room of my apartment and I feel like the wind is going to break through the windows! Anyway, some people don’t have to suffer through this terrible weather. Why you ask? Because some of them are studying abroad in other places.

One of my closest friends from California who happens to go to school in Illinois just arrived in South Africa to study abroad. From pictures she has sent me, it’s nice and warm there and she’s enjoying the good life full of warmth and sunshine. In addition, another friend from home is going to be traveling to Israel in the Spring! One of my roommates just got accepted into the Vienna June Term here at Hope, which made me really nostalgic because that was me last year, but during the May Term. A friend of mine and fellow blogger, Marvin, went to Vienna with me is going abroad over Spring Break because he loved the experience and exposure to a different culture so much. Obviously he learned the importance in putting yourself in a new environment where you are unfamiliar and vulnerable. This helps figure out how to communicate with others and other skills that are necessary when relating to others.

After experiencing abroad for myself, I cannot say enough good things about it and encourage everyone to at least travel outside of the state. Another one of my roommates took an internship in Chicago and is being exposed to a completely different atmosphere and lifestyle than what Hope offers. I strongly believe that a true education is beyond the textbooks and classrooms—it’s about learning other life skills that are applicable to the future and the “real world.” Staying in your comfort zone and bubble only allows you to master handling your current lifestyle, but to reach your full potential as a person, one must take risks and realize that obstacles will be encountered. However, overcoming these obstacles like simply learning how to speak a new phrase or learning a different form of transportation is a huge accomplishment and gives a new perspective.

I would absolutely love to travel abroad again like Marvin is planning on doing just because it was a tremendous learning experience and way to become more of an individual. I know that Hope offers so many opportunities to explore various areas of the world, so the only difficult task is figuring out a schedule that will allow you to hopefully graduate on time and meet a class requirements. Even if you don’t want to study abroad necessarily, Hope also offers a ton of mission trips that give the same emerging feel but the purpose is different that obtaining knowledge but is instead about being more charitable. If I haven’t beat it into the ground enough yet, I strongly encourage everyone to travel somewhere new just to have a good time, gain experiences and create some funny stories to tell when you return! Hope this helped and try to survive this terrible storm!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @hopeleslie15.

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Leslie Kempers

Hey Everyone! My name is Leslie Kempers and I am from Santa Ana, California. I am a Senior this year and am majoring in Exercise Science so after my time here at Hope, I will be pursuing a career in physical therapy! I have previously been involved with Nykerk and CASA and am excited to see what this year has in store for me. This place has become my second home and I have cherished every moment here at Hope College. Go Dutchmen!!!

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