Seniors set sights across the globe

Megan Ramsey, Staff Writer

Before senior Will Fisher applied to college, he was enticed by the University of Cambridge, thousands of miles away, where his dad had done work as a young adult. He did not limit himself to the borders of the United States. Now Fisher will walk paths his dad walked years ago and attend classes in buildings that have stood through history. Choosing the college one will go to for the next four years is a life-changing decision. Much more rests on the decision when a senior goes abroad for college.

Fisher plans to study at the University of Cambridge’s Trinity College, in England. Fisher thinks he will find the move fairly easy and is excited to experience daily life at Cambridge. He believes Cambridge is the best opportunity for him because it’s world-renowned and provides an experience to explore Europe that few Americans have.

“I’m really looking forward to being able to travel around Europe because the travel around there is super cheap, and there’s a bunch of places nearby to visit,” Fisher said.

Senior Anna de la Fuente will be attending McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. She believes that this is one of the best opportunities to make a drastic change in her life. De la Fuente said that students going abroad for college have to be open-minded, tenacious and responsible.

“I think that this is a time in your life where if you want to pick up and leave, do it now,” de la Fuente said. “If you don’t like it after four years or even after one year, you can come home, you still have a support net in the university, so it’s just a great time to go off and have an adventure.”

According to college counselor Vyasar Ganesan, students going abroad are generally drawn to adventure and change. However, he said the adjustment period is crucial for students going abroad. Students need time to visit their college with their families, find housing and get acclimated to life there.

“College is a transformative experience, right,” Ganesan said. “Going to college abroad is even more transformative… If you’re going to Europe, you’re not just going to be exposed to the culture of Europe, but you’re also exposed to the financial crisis they’re having, the immigrant crisis, the existential crisis, all these other things that you don’t think about when you’re there and then you see it and live it.”

While Ganesan explained that it is hard for many students to get out of Texas and that even staying in the United States is an adventure, De la Fuente explained that the distance was not an issue for her because Canada is just as far as some schools in the United States. She is ecstatic to go to her dream school

“I have never really been tied to the United States,” de la Fuente said. “I’m kind of comfortable wherever I am, and so I looked for programs that were best of the best.”

Fisher said he worries about dealing with the distance from his family and friends while in college. Even though he will be experiencing college without people he is close to, he expressed that he is pleased with his decision.

“Depending on who you are, if you have a major in a school that you’re really fixed on, for those reasons alone, then maybe stick with that, cause that could be what’s good for you,” Fisher said. “It depends on the person, but I think if you like traveling and the experience, then definitely it’s worth at least applying to.”

Ganesan said if students are thinking about going abroad, they should have a good mix of schools in and outside of the United States to apply to. He thinks cost shouldn’t be a barrier to going abroad because students are likely to get financial aid.

“If you know exactly what you want to do, you can apply straight to med school, you can apply straight to law school, apply straight to pre-professional programs,” Ganesan said. “So the opportunities are unlimited for people who know exactly what they want to do. I will say for the student who doesn’t know what they want to do, or is still just exploring their options, going abroad is not a good idea.”

College abroad doesn’t have to be a compromise. Fisher said there are many schools, like Cambridge where students don’t sacrifice academics or courses they want to take, and there’s the added bonus of getting to travel and be abroad. There are also several locations like Canada where tuition will actually be cheaper.

“For students who are thinking about it, remember that transferring is always an option,” Ganesan said. “Just as US students can transfer between colleges, same thing with the UK, same thing with international schools.”