Study abroad is a topic that is very popular with any college student. Who wouldn’t want to spend a semester in Rome, London, or Barcelona? However, a semester abroad experience might not be in the cards for a CNHS student, because of your highly sequential curriculum. Is it not completely impossible? No, it is not, but it could take a lot of planning or reshaping of exactly what your idea of study abroad would actually be.
Many students when they hear about study abroad they think the experience is going away for a full semester. I have to admit that is how I think of it, at first. I, myself, did a full semester study abroad experience and I wouldn’t have traded that experience for anything. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my experience and/or think of someone that was on the trip with me. The experience I had was one of the top 3 reasons on why I attended the college I did. I knew going into college that I would need to make some sacrifices in order for my semester away to be possible. I went to college and played field hockey which is a fall sport, my study abroad experience was going to be in the fall semester. I chose not to play one semester in order for me to go away. My study abroad experience also had no classes attached to that would go towards my major, besides a three credit independent study course. I was already behind in my curriculum courses as I switched majors my sophomore year. When I came back, I played catch up for two semesters. I took up to 20 credits each of those semesters and still managed to play field hockey my last fall. Was it hard? Yes, extremely. Was it worth it? Absofreakinlutely. I reshaped my four years to make what I wanted out of my four years to work.
Since working with students here at UVM, I have discovered that study abroad experiences come in all different sizes (semester long, week long) and shapes (local to international). Talking about study abroad earlier on in your college career is beneficial. Even though it might not be what you decide to do, it helps start the conversation to get you to where you need to be to be successful in whatever you want to accomplish. I have spoken to students that start out strong with making sure they do a full semester. We talk through it and go through options, what will it look like, who do I need to speak to first, how am I going to afford this?
First and foremost, speaking with your advisor would be your starting point. Our different majors have different four year curriculum plans. Advisors know when it will be the best time for you to do your study abroad and what it might look like. Make an appointment with them and start to discuss your options.
Before you get to your appointment with your advisor, do some research on study abroad. On the College of Nursing Health Sciences website, we have a page that is dedicated to health related abroad experiences. We have one semester long option for Nursing students that will keep you in your four year curriculum. Other options that we do have are what are called short-term travel study programs. They could be anywhere between one to four weeks. They are either over winter break, spring break, or during the summer. These options are great experiences and they keep with your four year curriculum plan and they don’t have you missing much class to continue on. Also, most help fulfil one of your Diversity credits.
If by chance, the options on our website do not fulfill what you think your study abroad experience will look like, bring those questions/concerns to your advisor appointment as well. It helps to have your questions ready to go to help facilitate the conversation, so they can lay out exactly what your options will be.
CNHS’s majors are highly sequential and in order for you to accomplish what you want in your major, your priorities might shift. This is okay. This in life happens and though it might feel like it sucks for you not to get that semester to Rome/London/Barcelona in, but this does not mean you will never get to these places in your life.