At Williams, we only have three Williams-sponsored study abroad programs. There's the Oxford program, in which students spend their entire junior year studying at Oxford. There's Williams-Mystic, where students can go and still be fairly close to campus (Mystic Seaport is in Connecticut) but also get to live on a boat and engage in maritime studies. Williams in Africa takes a group of students to, you guessed it, Africa, and we once had Williams in New York but I'm not exactly sure when that's going to be functional again.The options are pretty slim, so many students elect to take programs offered by other schools; C.'s program, for example, is out of Middlebury College. The problem with that is sometimes the double-overload of paperwork from both the other college and the actual program, plus the cost, plus the Visa, etc., can make the experience more frightening than fun, and very overwhelming. Some schools even require you to obtain admission from that school in order to do their program; so if you want to take a program offered by Yale, for example, good luck.
Personally, I've never had much of an interest in studying abroad. But at Williams, I'm made to feel akin to a leper (okay, maybe not that extreme) for that lack of inclination. Here's my deal, though: I am a double major in English and American legal studies. There's nowhere else in the world to get as valuable an education in United States law as, well, the United States, so that rules that out. For my English major, the most logical program for me to do would have, of course, been the Oxford program, but here's the thing. I've been to England, and it's great, but I don't think living there for a year would be any better than being here at school. I would NOT want to be away for a whole year, so that basically rules the program out. Ireland or England would also be good choices for an Enlish major looking to go abroad, but I'm interested in American literature at the turn of the (20th) century, and really again, no better place for that than the U.S.
Also, my argument really boils down to this: I only have eight semesters, EVER, to be an undergraduate college student. I can travel on summers or after college. Why would I want to give one, two or even more of those semesters, ones I can never get back, up?
And so I ask you guys: Did you/do you plan to study abroad as an undergrad? Do you regret going and losing time on campus or was it the best thing you ever did (as most people say it was for them)?
[Images from Hicker Photo, Swift Passport,]