The Boss Babe Blog
Build your career without sacrificing your life.
"Where does your daughter want to study?"
"Oh, she's looking into universities in Ireland."
"Well... That's a tall order, isn't it?"
I wasn't sure how to react when my mother described this little encounter to me. I was completely taken-aback. Defensive, shocked, apprehensive; every emotion coursed through me in a matter of minutes. My mother took the liberty of reassuring me that my aspirations were not unreasonable, and concluded her story with the fact that she defended my decision and the woman had nothing else to say on the matter. Honestly, I'm not bothered in the least by this woman's opinion in itself, but the underlying circumstances attached to such a statement.
First of all, why is a study abroad program considered to be a "tall order"? There are less scholarship opportunities, I will admit, but there are still options nonetheless. In fact, with the inflation of college tuition prices within the United States, some students might discover it cheaper to study overseas. Travel may be something that is never "simple" per say, but it is certainly not unattainable. Airplanes are the safest method of travel, and they take passengers over the ocean every single day. I could arrive at my destination within hours, not days as if I were sailing on a ship. Plus, there are universities all over the world that consider themselves to be "international" accepting individuals of every race and nationality.
Now, on to my next concern. I hate to sound like a bra-burning feminist when I say this, but was this considered a "tall order" not for money or travel reasons, but because I am female? I mainly mention this because I have just finished writing a speech that will be used to discuss women in politics for Women's History Month, but it is a valid concern regardless. When it has been scientifically proven that females tend to receive higher grades than their male counterparts, and women are working in various industries that used to be reserved solely for men now more than ever, I would like to say that I am severely disappointed in this individual that I don't even know, should this have been her reasoning.
I have written a blog post on it before, and I'm sure you could locate it with ease just by scrolling for a bit or using the "university" tag, but I do want to restate the facts on studying abroad. It is NOT impractical. It is NOT too expensive. It is NOT too difficult to apply for. It is NOT impossible to be accepted into. It is NOT a bad decision for your career. In fact, it DOES show that you have experience with multiple culture; a huge advantage when listed as a skill on your resume. It WILL set you up to have a better understanding of the world. It WILL be more fun and exciting than the community college down the road. It WILL allow you to meet new people and asses your understanding of how to be a responsible adult. It IS a great opportunity for any university-age student.
It is NOT a tall order. It is an aspiration. It is a choice.
Besides, I've heard it said more than once: If your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough.