As November 15 quickly approaches and the keyboards of sophomores (and a few overachieving freshmen) across campus are set ablaze by the furious typing of last-minute essays, I felt it was only appropriate to write a post about that time-honored tradition: applying to study abroad.
Pretty much everyone at ND applies to go abroad, and most people have great reasons for wanting to do so. On the actual application, though, let's not kid ourselves; we tell more subtle untruths than the coaching staff at Penn State (too soon? probably. Do I care? probably not). If we were totally honest on our applications, they would read quite differently. It is such an honest application that you are about to read.
Let's start with a seemingly easy question: Are there any foods you cannot eat? Well, I mean, I hate most vegetables. I may be the anti-vegetarian in a million ways, but I refuse to touch veal with a ten-foot pole. I mean, baby cows? Ew, so sad! Similarly, pistachios. Oh, and the time my high school French Club made escargots, I snuck my portion onto someone else's plate when they weren't looking.
Describe any concerns you might have about studying abroad: I'm concerned that my study-abroad blog won't be interesting enough for people to read it consistently, and I'm not sure if the three-day weekends built into my schedule every week will give me enough time to cavort around Europe instead of doing homework. But, it'll give me a great chance to improve my time management!
Describe any experiences or interests that could be considered in evaluating your application: One time, I went to Asian house - totally exotic! And the "American Girl in Paris" episodes are my all-time favorites from Sex and the City. I'm also VERY interested in Italian men, British accents, French wine, Swiss chocolate, and Volkswagens. I know I'm worldly; you can be jealous.
Describe how you plan to become involved in the community at the location to which you are applying: I will definitely be in the market for a local boyfriend, and I intend to fully investigate all the community's pubs and/or nightclubs.
And finally, the Statement of Objectives: Basically, I want to study abroad because it's a great excuse for me to avoid a South Bend winter (blech) and instead spend a few months in a country where the drinking age is 5 and kids sneak into discotheques at 13. I've also heard from all my friends that no one ever goes to class or does any work, which sounds GREAT. I can't wait to go sightseeing and clubbing every day of every week. Oh, and finally, I really want to be able to come home and brag to all my friends who didn't go abroad about how fantastic it was. Please, please accept me! :)
That, my friends, is what's going on in the minds of every person applying to study abroad. Because the stuff I just described is the only "cultural immersion" we have any interest in. [Note: I use the term "we" very loosely. Everyone reading this who knows me well knows that I am way too much of a loser for 90% of this "I like clubbing and snagging hot boys" stuff to ever apply to me. Hear that, Office of International Studies? If you're looking for a poster child, I volunteer!]