Oh, the places you could go

Seniors pushes studying abroad


Photo by Rachel Lewis

Story by Bethany Dowd, staff writer

After a long and restful Christmas break, the second semester has finally made its appearance. Okay, I tell myself, time to get serious. Kind of. I plop down in my computer chair, ready to start on some major college searching, scouring the web for scholarships and any financial aid that can be found. Suddenly, my entire table starts shaking, and after a moment of panic, I realize that it’s someone calling my phone, not an earthquake. I put the reciever to my ear, and my eardrums are assaulted with my friend Patricia’s high pitched excited voice, screaming my name. After managing to bring her voice down to human level octaves, she explained that she is transferring out of UNT to go to Germany for college, where there isn’t any tuition. My jaw drops as I imagine going to college and furthering my education for free. I take a few names from Patricia and begin researching them on my own.

I found out that in fact, there are many colleges in Germany that offer tons of English courses, all tuition free, while you stay there studying culture and learning the language. It was literally everything I’ve ever wanted to do.

Now the only problem–convincing everyone around me that I wasn’t going insane. And just as I imagined, explaining that college in Germany is an actual option, and a great one at that, was taxing, seeing as most people think that leaving the U.S. condemns your future and education. My mom yelled at me for about an hour before I could even begin to explain the pros and cons. I had to give a full and logical argument, and she agreed it didn’t sound like a bad choice, but still insisted that I stay in the U.S. for a while. Most of my friends took it as a joke and brushed it off as one of my many ideas that may or may not get fully developed, and only a few of my friends recognized how serious I was. I’ve found that only one of my friends had even thought about studying abroad as an option.

So here I am, to tell you why studying in Europe could be the best route.

For one, tuition is free, and while some people are lucky enough to have caboodles of money, some people like me are relying on scholarships in America to get me through, which most of the time aren’t enough for someone of average intelligence.

Reason number two: you’ll learn another language. People who are immersed in the country of the language they are studying can learn it in a year and be fluent. In Germany, by the time you graduate you will be able to speak English, German and a third language of your choice.

Reason number three: their grading system is completely different and is made up of comprehension, not grades. The scale is from one to five and the only failing grade is a one. This is why many people who graduate from college in Germany feel prepared and ready for a career.

Reason number four: taking a few years off before and inbetween years of college is normal and encouraged in Europe. The belief is that traveling and finding out what you’re interested in is important before you attend school for it, while in the U.S. taking a year or two off is often looked down upon.

This experience encourages you to step outside boundaries and really, as cliche as it is, broaden your horizons. Before this year, the thought of leaving the U.S. and my family was implausible, but now, I’ll be studying in Germany a year from now and I’ve never been more excited.

So take my advice and look into it. Stop being frightened of the strange, foreign land we have only thought to one day visit and see what kind of opportunities are there for you. Don’t be afraid of something different.