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Letter to the editor: study abroad misconceptions

Published: February 2, 2012, 3:14 am ET

I enjoyed reading the abroad experiences that many of my fellow classmates had abroad, and I agree with most of them. I studied abroad in Madrid in fall 2011, and it was a great experience academically and socially.

I met some very interesting people and have definitely made long-lasting friendships with other students from abroad as well as fellow Richmond students. In addition, University in a foreign country can be very different from Richmond.

Although the course work was not as intense throughout the semester, it was definitely stressful toward the end. There was a comment from a woman who claimed that she only went to class six times, but I had a different experience.

Although deadlines abroad are more relaxed and people are generally not as stressed as at Richmond, it is also very difficult to do as well as we are accustomed to. Last week, the final grades came out from abroad and several friends and I were praying and hoping that we had passed all of our classes.

Don’t get me wrong, being abroad was a fantastic opportunity that I would gladly repeat, but the European grading system is structured in a way that half of all students fail the class.

Thus, I do not agree with the comments or implications that education abroad is easier or less rigorous in any way. I do believe that it is a different kind of rigor, and every semester there are Richmond students who come back from abroad without passing all of their classes. I hope that future students do not have the misconception that studying abroad equates to partying abroad.

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