Today’s post comes from Mina Seo, an STA Travel Student Ambassador at the University of California, Berkeley. Connect with Mina on Instagram, Twitter and follow her on Snap @minasayo.

Mina Seo 1

It may be hard as a college student to find time to travel, let alone study abroad; such was the case for me. From my yearly club commitments to the classes I needed for my majors, I was sad that I couldn’t find the time to study abroad during the fall or spring semester. But that didn’t stop me from studying abroad — in the summer.

There are many pros and cons to studying abroad in the summer. Here are a few of the reasons for those of you who want to study abroad but can’t find the time!

Pros:

You have more time at your home institution

Mina Seo 2

For me, I couldn’t miss the fall semester because of football season, but I also couldn’t miss the spring semester because I had to finish my major prerequisites and declare. Even so, my club commitments also kept me from studying abroad during the semester. A great alternative was to study abroad in the summer, because it was still like a vacation, only with homework.

Academic schedules can be more flexible 

Mina Seo 3

This will very from one person to the next, but I definitely felt that studying abroad in the summer was more flexible than it might’ve been during the fall or spring semester.  Even my friends at other study abroad destinations said that studying abroad in the summer had far more flexibility than studying during the semester. That may be because everyone else is on break and summer allows for more of a varied schedule!

You still have time to travel

Mina Seo 4

I think one of the best things is that due to the more flexible structure of summer study abroad programs, I was able to go to four different countries and multiple cities around my study abroad destination! The weekend trips were great for either relaxing or travelling virtually anywhere! When I studied abroad in England, some of my friends went to Turkey, Sweden, and even Morocco! My personal favorite trip was to Italy, where I visited Florence and Rome.

Cons

The fear of “burning out” academically

Mina Seo 5

One full year of studying without any breaks definitely took a toll on me. While I mentioned that the summer classes were easier, I felt like I learned way too much and by the fall semester, my brain was definitely overloaded with too much information. Still, I loved every moment of my study abroad experience so I would totally do it again! (Can you see my eyebags in this picture?)

Not seeing your family for 6+ months (depends on individual school’s academic calendar)

Mina Seo 6

For me, I was unable to go back home after my program ended. That meant I would be away from my family from June to November/December, basically six months! It didn’t help that it was my first time going to another country with no family members living near me. That made the trip much lonelier. However, coming back to my family after so long made me realize how independent I became. I felt like I could do anything after that.

Studying abroad in the summer is an experience I’ll never forget. I’m glad I went when I could, because I met wonderful people from around the world, and I was still able to get 100% out of my experience! Still, there are many things to consider when studying abroad in the summer. Hopefully this list will be helpful in your own decision to study abroad!

Authored by Mina Seo – STA Travel Student Ambassador