February 21, 2010 Russia, Spain, China, Peru, Ireland, Denmark, South Africa, Italy, France, Switzerland, Australia, Mexico, Argentina, the list goes on and on. It seems that every country of the world has at least one Hamilton student within its borders, and I wouldn't be surprised if there was a Hamilton student on the moon, too.
It's all part of the study abroad experience, which allows students to soak in academic and cultural life in a place entirely different from the Hill. As a junior, I'm asked if I'm going abroad about 5 times a day, and each time I need to explain why I am not going abroad. Almost half of Hamilton students go abroad and their stories are truly breathtaking (I'll probably give some secondhand accounts soon), but for once I would like to give one story about the other half.
Thus, I present, the top 5 reasons I'm not studying abroad. One reason alone is not sufficient to miss out on studying in a far off land, but combined, I feel pretty confident I made a wise decision:
1. The Neuro and Math double major--Many neuroscience majors and many math majors have gone abroad before (in fact, there is a great math-specific program in Hungary). As a double major, it would not have been impossible to do the same, but it sure would have made life a lot more difficult come senior year. By not going abroad, I'm able to space out my coursework so I'm not overwhelmed with too many insanely difficult classes, and can focus on one math and one neuro class at a time.
2. The Tennis Team--Tennis in college is in the fall and spring, so I would have to miss a season to study abroad. People on the team have done that, but I would rather get the most out of my time as a collegiate athlete. I won't really get the chance to play on a team after I graduate, so for me, every match is too special to miss out on.
3. The Activities--Okay, this is kind-of cheating because it's a lot of reasons lumped into one, but like tennis, I only have four years of doing cool stuff like orchestra, curling, and winning intramural championships. I find it very hard to take a break from something, even if it's only for one semester.
4. The Missing desire--You really have to want to go somewhere to study abroad, and to honest, no one place really interested me. Sure, I know some Spanish and would have loved to go with Hamilton's Spain program to become more fluent and experience the extravagant culture, but the idea never really excited me for whatever reason. I definitely want to travel the world, but not now. Who knows, maybe a fellowship or something similar postgrad could lead me to another country sooner than I thought, which would be an all-too-perfect substitute for not studying abroad in college.
5. The Hamilton life--I'll admit it...I don't want to miss anything that goes on on the Hill. I chose to go to school here, so I want to go to school here. There are too many classes to take, too many events to go to, and too many awesome people to meet for me to just leave for an entire semester or year. I know I'll get my chance to experience the world someday, but I don't want it to be at the expense of my experience in the bubble.