By Emily Eiermann
I figured studying abroad over the summer would be easy. Fill out a form, pay a deposit, pick your courses and send in a letter of recommendation to prove you won’t go crazy if they send you to a foreign country. So, considering my level of procrastination and my general indecisiveness, I put off choosing a program, assuming that I had plenty of time.
Needless to say, that was a terrible idea.
I didn’t pick a program until I went to the Spring Study Abroad Fair in the beginning of February. I knew I wanted to go to Italy — it will be my first time out of the country, and I wanted it to be to a culture vastly different than my own — but there were too many options for too many cities, and I was lost. I had played around with the idea of Florence, though the amount of tourists who flock to the city in the summer seemed overwhelming, and I felt that would take away from my real Italian experience. Plus, let’s face it, the cast of the Jersey Shore filmed a season there, and the last thing I needed was to be judged for being both American AND from New Jersey.
But at the fair, I learned about the CIS option for Perugia. A college atmosphere within a small city that was somewhat off the beaten track, it would be a true Italian experience with fewer Americans. I could take an intensive language program that would help me on my quest to become fluent in Italian. Plus, the city is known for producing the Italian chocolate “baci,” which won me over instantly.
So I sent in my application for the program a few days later, and set up an appointment with the study abroad office the second-to-last week of February. I had assumed that the counselors would just help me ensure my credits transferred over, which was where I went wrong. There were forms and recommendation letters and transcript requests that were due a full two weeks before the program’s application date, and I was left scrambling to get everything in on time.
But after a few miscommunications and a few more trips to the office than I should have needed, had I been more on top of my application, I was done. Soon I would attend my first orientation through Rider, and take my first step towards leaving the country for the first time.
The moral of the story? Do your research, plan ahead, choose your program early and don’t neglect the Rider portion of your application. In the end, no one needs the added stress.