The end is nigh!
March 1st marks the deadline for practically every application there is. Many private and departmental scholarships, CU’s general financial aid, and — most relevant to this column — fall study abroad applications are all due this Thursday.
While many students procrastinate until the weekend before this ominous deadline (myself included), Katie Odens, a sophomore Spanish and Education major at CU, finished her study application with a bit of time to spare, turning in her application last week.
From deciding which program to attend to writing multiple essays and gathering paperwork, applying to study abroad adds to the workload of already-busy students.
Although some elements of the application process can be easily controlled, others — like waiting for letters of recommendation to be completed — cannot. “The hardest part of applying was waiting for the things I couldn’t control to be completed,” said Odens. “It was suspenseful waiting for everything to be finished so that I could get the decision letter.”
Odens turned her application in early, but she still has to wait to hear back about her acceptance. “I’m not too nervous about being accepted since I’ve already been abroad and my academics and disciplinary record haven’t changed since then,” she said.
If she is accepted, Odens will be doing the ISA program in Salamanca, Spain. Deciding what country to visit was the easy part: “I decided first to go to Spain since I’ve never been to Europe and really want to get to know the continent,” she said. “Also, I speak Spanish, so of the European countries that makes the most sense for me to go to.”
Selecting a program required a bit more research and thought from Odens, but ultimately the ISA program — which features individualized studies with Spaniards as well as a homestay — won her over. “The program I chose was the best fit for me as far as academic flexibility and class options,” she explained. “They offer courses in Spanish, Education and Portuguese, which are my three main interests as of now.”
Sometimes, it’s hard to accept that your best friend or loved one will be leaving the country for six months. But Odens is lucky to have the support of her friends and family. “People typically support me in my decision,” she said. “My friends mainly get excited, but my parents always support me so that’s always nice. When I asked my mom about the cost of studying abroad, she told me that as long as I was working hard and kept up my grades that they would find a way to make it work.”
Although she won’t be leaving until August, Odens is overcome with anticipation at the prospect of studying abroad. “It’s way too exciting to contain,” she explained. “You can ask any of my close friends and they’ll tell you that I squeal with excitement every time the thought of going crosses my mind.”
Now that her application is turned in, Odens can spend the rest of the semester focusing on the great things about CU and Boulder.
In addition to the less-than-exciting aspects of preparation, like visa applications and doctors’ visits, Odens has a few other preparation goals in mind: “I plan on preparing to study abroad by packing super efficiently, and brushing up on my Spanish via telenovelas and novels over the summer.”
Jessica Ryan is a junior media studies major at CU-Boulder. She writes about study abroad experiences once a week for the Colorado Daily. On Twitter: @JessicaLRyan.