As I have gotten older in college, the one thing I regret is not starting my study abroad adventures sooner. I have been fortunate enough to be able to complete two summer study abroad programs, one in Mexico and one in Peru, but this still does not seem like enough. In the real world, summer break doesn’t exist. This is something that I realized very quickly once I started applying for internships as I got into my sophomore and junior years.
After spending 9 weeks in Mexico, I decided that it was okay to stop traveling and start getting serious about finding an internship. I had decided that I had had my time and my adventures, and that phase of my life was over. So, I went out and did everything I could to find a successful internship that I could be proud of- and that’s exactly what happened. In January I was hired at LG&E and KU as an intern, and I could not be happier to be working for one of the most successful companies in our city. I knew for sure my traveling days were over at this point- how could I let myself give up such an amazing job?
But the thing about the travel but is that once you catch it, it’s impossible to get rid of. I found myself searching online for 2 or 3-week study abroad programs that I might be able to get approval from my bosses. Having studied abroad before, I know that 2 or 3 weeks is nowhere near long enough to fully immerse yourself in the culture of another country, but I was willing to take an opportunity I could get. Also from studying abroad before, I know that 2 to 3-week programs are hard to come by and typically just as expensive as doing a 4 to 5-week program.
I had no luck finding short programs that weren’t astronomical in cost, but I did find a 5-week program to Peru that really interested me. I was terrified of asking my bosses for permission to go on this trip. I was terrified that I would seem unprofessional and that it would impact my ability to get a full-time job once I graduate. But, knowing that this was my last chance to travel, I asked- and I’m glad I did. My bosses were super accepting and excited about my travels. They supported me, saying that I would come back as a stronger employee and knowing that I was working towards finishing my degree.
I am so glad that I took the chance to study abroad again. I did it for myself. Moral of the story: book the flight, and travel while you’re young. Who knows if you’ll make it to retirement?