abroad program offers more than study time away from campus
life students find while studying abroad varies greatly
from life on campus.
is life outside the Bubble.
The Bubble is actually what students refer
to as the TCU Bubble. One could describe it
as the immediate area surrounding campus, but it is not
so much a physical place as it is a way of life.
Despite being located in Fort Worth, the TCU Bubble
is separated from the community by invisible barriers.
It mostly houses privileged students who know they are
privileged, and whose motto is usually, You can
retake a class, but you cant relive a party.
However, some students choose to experience college life
away from campus, and many students who participate in
study abroad programs each semester find out that life
in a foreign country bares hardly any resemblance to life
inside the TCU Bubble.
With language barriers to cross and different cultures
to adapt to, there are many things a student must be prepared
to do in order to have an enjoyable study abroad experience.
Nevertheless, as junior photography major David Johnson
said the most important thing is to leave the TCU style
of life behind.
Come with an open mind, said Johnson, who
is studying in Florence. You will see things Texas
doesnt offer, and plus, it really sucks when youre
out somewhere and you hear some stuck up American talking
about how the USA is so much better.
Living in a different country means adjusting to a different
lifestyle, and for almost all students studying abroad,
transportation without a car is an entirely new concept.
Pack your walking shoes because you will walk practically
everywhere, Johnson said. Which is great,
because Ive lost all the freshman beer weight I
While walking everywhere is a welcome change, living in
a country that has an entirely different language may
take a little longer to get used to. Ceci Lang, a junior
international marketing and Spanish major studying in
Seville, Spain, suggests that even if you are familiar
with the language of the country you are living in, you
should research some popular phrases of the people before
I can speak Spanish pretty well because my mom is
from Lima, Peru, but there are definitely some things
they say that I should have known before I came,
said Lang. One day I was in a store looking at some
clothes and it was really warm, so I just made a comment
to one of the ladies and said, estoy caliente,
which is supposed to mean Im a little hot.
Little did I know that here, that term means, 'I
am horny.' No wonder she looked at me strange, Lang
In addition to trying to overcome the language barrier,
Johnson said it is a good idea to travel any chance you
get, and do things you never thought you could because
you will shock the hell out of yourself.
For some students studying in London, a popular TCU study
abroad location where language is hardly a barrier, the
opportunity to do something to shock the hell out of them
actually came about while they were traveling.
Adam Carson, a junior marketing major studying in London,
said he and his friends traveled to Scotland and went
to Loch Ness, where they learned a Scottish tradition
that requires skinny dipping in the freezing water which,
Carson said, is just above the temperature to avoid hypothermia
if you jump in and get out and immediately re-clothe.
Carson jumped at the chance to shock the hell out
of himself. Literally.
Me and this guy from Pennsylvania put down some
whiskey and decided we wanted in the club
and did it while being photographed by girls that walked
down with us, Carson said. It was a memory
for a lifetime because when you go under you're not sure
if you're heart is still beating or not. The tour guide
and other locals assured us that they had all done it
and we were in no danger or I would have never taken the
When not trying to do the outrageous, Carson said study
abroad students, especially those who will study in London,
need to be careful with their finances. In the current
market, he said you get about one British pound for about
$2, so when you have to nearly double the price of everything
that is already expensive, it cuts down on your purchases.
Of course, you have hang on to your money in order to
spend it, and Johnson said one of the biggest problems
in Italy is pick-pocketers. He said students who will
be going abroad need to know they should not carry all
their money around with them at all times, keep all money
in their front pockets, and keep all personal items extremely
close to their bodies.
And he speaks from experience.
In Florence he was having a conversation with a man he
had just met, when all of the sudden the man punched him
in the stomach and tried to steal his bracelet. The man
was shocked when Johnson retaliated, and after a brief
scuffle and plenty of yelling, he said the man finally
decided to run off, unsuccessful. Johnson was glowing.
I was taking out crime in Florence one pick-pocket
at a time, Johnson said.
Apparently, the people of Venice had yet to hear of Johnsons
crime-stopping ability. Or maybe they just didnt
I was at Carnevale (in Venice) taking pictures,
and when I walked out of the square I noticed my small
silver phone was gone, Johnson said. I really
could do nothing but just laugh and say shit happens.
No matter where a student chooses to study abroad, they
will definitely be living in a different culture, and
with so many things to be prepared for, and such a different
lifestyle to adapt to, Johnson has a short list of dos
Travel! If youre studying in one city, spend
every weekend out of town. Every place has something different
to offer, Johnson said. Dont stay in
your flat the whole time, and dont sleep. Get out
there and meet people. Community living is new to most
Americans, and no, it is not like living in dorms.
And most importantly, dont waste all your
time being wasted! Europeans dont booze like typical
college students, and believe me, site-seeing hung-over
is not fun.
Although there is much to take into consideration, study
abroad students say that there is no better opportunity
to grow as a person, and learn about the world, and yourself.
After all, living abroad offers students the many things
the TCU Bubble does not.
For any students contemplating studying abroad,
all I can say is do it, Lang said. You definitely
go through a little culture shock, but I think its
good to get out of the TCU Bubble and experience
something different for a bit. Besides, it makes you realize
what little things you take for granted, and that makes
your college experience so much better.
For students who choose to study abroad, the college experience
would not be complete without a semester away from the