Seniors pursue the chance to travel abroad during their final semester


RACHEL TCHEN poses in front of a field in Perugia, Italy where she has completed some of her schoolwork. Photo provided by RACHEL TCHEN

Students are excited to live in another country at the end of their college career

After browsing through the photos of  Trinity students living in exotic locations, some may feel the itch to study abroad suddenly overwhelm them. While some may think that it’s too late to pursue study abroad after a certain time, others disagree, and have planned trips abroad during their last semester at Trinity.

“I thought I would study abroad junior year like most people do, but then I couldn’t make it work. After that, I thought that I may not study abroad after all. I changed my mind several times, and I didn’t really solidify my plans until the end of junior year,” said Rachel Tchen, a senior neuroscience major.

After several semesters of planning, Tchen was able to study in Italy during her senior spring semester.

“I’ve wanted to study abroad since my freshman year; when else am I guaranteed to live for four months abroad? I’m also unsure about what I want to do in the future, so this seemed like a great chance to study a new subject and gain exposure to new ideas. I picked Perugia, Italy, because of the Food and Sustainability Studies program. Food and the environment interested me from a young age, but I never chose to study either formally, but this program definitely seemed like the perfect chance to. I mean, why not study food in Italy?” Tchen said.

Emily Lee, a senior music and Chinese double major, always knew the best time to study abroad was during her final semester.

“It was quite spontaneous because I suddenly wanted to study abroad the second semester of my junior year. By then, I only had two choices, study abroad either fall or spring my senior year. I had music classes to take in the fall at Trinity so I was only left with the spring, but I think it was the best choice because it would be hard to return to real school after a semester abroad,” Lee said.

Lee will soon be departing for her semester in Taiwan, and is already excited for the new experiences she’ll be exposed to.

“I want to do touristy stuff and live like a local. I want to eat everything cause Taiwan has the most delicious and diverse food, go everywhere in and near Taiwan and experience the night life here because Taiwan doesn’t sleep,” Lee said.

The impact and involvement of seniors studying abroad during their last semester will be missed by their friends and peers.

“I’m sad I don’t get to see Rachel, but I’m super happy she’s taken the opportunity because it’s not one you get every day”, said Julia Torres, a senior chemistry major.

Lee will also miss the chance to be with friends during her senior spring semester.

“While I’m sad I won’t be able to walk the stage with my classmates, I think the opportunity to study abroad is worth it. Besides, I already lived my college life to the fullest. I made incredible friends who are irreplaceable and had friends that I wanted to get closer to. Dance was a huge part of my college life, and seeing my friends put on shows makes me proud yet sad I can’t be a part of them,” Lee said.

Despite missing out on a few Trinity experiences, Tchen thinks studying abroad is worth pursuing, and studying topics outside your major makes a trip even more interesting.

“I’d say save your elective credits for studying abroad your last semester. You don’t want to be stressed abroad or during your last semester anyways. Also, just go for it; it may seem abnormal, but it’s a great opportunity. It feels strange to be away from those you’re closest to at a time right before you’re all supposed to part, but I think in the end, it will be worth it. To explore something new in a new country is an irreplaceable experience,” Tchen said.

Lee also believes that experiencing a new country should be a priority of any student.

“Your life experiences shouldn’t be limited to one place. College is the time to step outside and broaden your perspective. As you meet different people and learn about their lifestyles, you’ll grow a lot and learn more about yourself. You might even fall in love with the country and not want to come back! Anyways, traveling for such a long time after you graduate is hard, so do it now,” Lee said.