Here’s the American spring break image: copious amounts of alcohol, hot beach parties, and “t**s out for the boys.”
Every March students excitedly head down south to fulfill this boisterous stereotype, posting ludicrous pictures online and making friends jealous along the way.
The unsettling thing about our idea of spring break today is that this highly anticipated one-week vacation from school and stress is never linked to another sacred college tradition: studying abroad.
While study abroad is often praised as that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that may never come again, many students, including myself, still look at the program with trepidation.
Even though we’re advised to be open and brave, the concept of immersing oneself into an entirely different country, environment, and culture for four months can indeed be terrifying.
When we put these two college customs side by side, the connection is obvious: spring break can be our solution to this “foreign” anxiety. Many of us want to go across oceans to European countries without the long-term commitment and dreadful course load while at the same time step away from the same old beach scene that everyone is generally attracted to during this time of the year. This short glorious week in March can satisfy both of these desires.
Another benefit of this change of pace is visiting those who were swept away by the abroad culture. We may not have been open to traveling afar and posting up in another country but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go visit friends we haven’t seen all semester for a week of new experiences and horizon broadening.
Drinking a pint in an Irish pub, making a pizza in a Roman kitchen, or satisfying your wicked sweet tooth in an Amsterdam coffee shop could be just the diverse experience you instinctively crave over another week on a beer-drenched beach.
We can all honestly say that we have the rest of our lives to merrily roam about a beach with all the beer, babes and buds we could possibly want. Spring break is not limited to this narrow experience. Spring breaks are vacations, and there are many more vacation spots out there that can equally blow you away.
Image: Pittsburg State University, http://eiustudyabroad.wordpress.com/category/spring-break/