If I were to compile1 a list of the 10 most utilized words in higher education， one of them would certainly be： globalization. I’m not sure whether people have just become cognizant of modern globalization or I’ve simply happened to notice it more， but globalization is a recurring theme in many of my academic discussions between professors and peers.2 Not surprisingly， then， studying abroad in foreign locations is highly encouraged among many higher education institutions. The pursuit of knowledge is not simply a local endeavor3； the pursuit must be an adventure. Learning and experiencing a different culture while simultaneously continuing studies is an extremely enriching experience that many Americans strive to accomplish through study abroad.4 Popular destinations at my university include many European and Asian countries， namely China， Spain， France， and Germany. American students are scattered5 all across the globe.
Many of my friends who have partaken in study abroad have cherished their experience， a majority of them always concluding their recollection of their experience with an enthusiastic， “I want to go back！”6 For example， one peer of mine spent a semester7 in Singapore. He stayed with other exchange students and travelled to surrounding Southeast Asian countries. One of his favorite destinations was Vietnam， where he stayed in an isolated hut in the mountains， miles away from civilization and free to introspectively dwell on whatever crossed his mind.8 Another friend visited Ireland， and wishes to go back as soon as she graduates. But who says study abroad must always be on land？ One of the more exciting study abroad programs that two of my friends experienced was on a ship. They， along with other students from schools across the country， took classes on the ship and disembarked9 in various locations around the world to apply their knowledge and learn the culture. Their destinations included Greece， South Africa， Morocco10， Germany， Japan， and more. They spent about a week in each country， for a total of about 16 weeks. They built everlasting friendships and accumulated a plethora of global experiences.11
Though the success rate of study abroad is an extremely high number， there are also some instances of students not enjoying their study abroad experience. One peer particularly did not like studying abroad in Australia， claiming that the university’s location and environment did not meet expectations.I knew I wanted to study abroad as soon as I started thinking about where to go for college. A couple of weeks ago， I finally confirmed my study abroad plans. Next semester， I will be travelling to Amsterdam12 for a total of six months to continue my studies. Although I am extremely excited， I am mostly relieved that the process of finalizing my destination has come to a close， as it was long and arduous.13 +The process begins with determining whether study abroad is feasible14 with your major. For me， I had enough credit to forego a semester taking credits for my majors.15 Many students studying sciences like biology or chemistry， on the other hand， often opt out of study abroad during the semester simply because it is not compatible with their major.16 If semester study abroad isn’t an option， however， some students choose to study abroad in the summer. The second step is to utilize a budget sheet17 to determine if studying abroad is financially feasible. Study abroad programs almost always exceed $10，000.
The next， and arguably18 the most difficult step is choosing the location. This decision depends on a variety of factors： the type of program， the desired environment， and the quality of education. I was determined I would study abroad in the Middle East， however with the political instability， my plans changed drastically19 from going to Egypt to going to Amsterdam. Initially， I wanted to go to the Middle East because I was intrigued with20 Middle Eastern culture. I was determined to observe the intersectionality between Islamic society，21 Middle Eastern culture， and the economy. Additionally， I have been studying Arabic， and this language would prove useful in any of the countries in the Middle East. The political and social environment， however， was the only downside to this region. Because my family felt uncomfortable sending me there for six months， I steered22 towards choosing a destination in either Asia or Europe. I was specifically looking for a location that would not be too large and overwhelming and encapsulated a rich culture and history.23 Amsterdam is the cross-section between a vibrant culture， a dynamic economic environment， and a multi-cultural society in a city that feels like a small town.24 The university within the city is worldrenowned， and the exchange student culture is expansive. It was perfect.
After deciding the location， then comes the application process. For exchange programs， you must apply to your own university then to the host university. The application process itself takes about two to three weeks， in addition to four to six weeks to wait for the final decision. Currently， I am waiting for the official decision from the University of Amsterdam on whether or not I have been accepted. My hopes are high， however， and I have already conducted extensive research on airfare25 to Amsterdam， accommodation options， and the types of courses I will be taking.
I am eager to mesh with Amsterdam culture and satiate my hunger for adventure.26 I have already conducted extensive research about must-eat foods， must-visit destinations， and （most importantly in my opinion） how to rent a bike to explore the city. From my experience， I hope to gain a greater understanding of global culture and commerce， and the dynamic relationship between the two. Amsterdam is an exuberantly multi-cultural city and I hope to fully experience and observe the interplay of different cultures， races， and backgrounds in a nation that is not America.27 Furthermore， I am interested in studying the European Union from an insider’s perspective， especially in regards to the recent Brexit28. Though I have not undertaken my study abroad experience， I highly encourage any and all students to study abroad. Travelling to a country is completely different than learning in a country. Experiencing student life in a foreign location is not only an academically enriching experience， but also a self-enriching experience.