Discovering a new culture, meeting new friends and having the experience of a lifetime. With these selling points, you might wonder why some students say “no” to the chance to study abroad. Although studying abroad is quite popular at the 5C’s, every year there are many sophomores who choose to stay in Claremont during their junior year. To get a better idea of why one might choose not to study abroad, I interviewed several students who chose to spend their time in Claremont instead of Europe, Asia or another exotic destination.
Why would you choose not to study abroad?
In a word: education. Most of the students I talked to mentioned that they preferred taking classes that were meaningful and would advance their education over going abroad (where classes might not be at the same calibre as they are in the 5C’s).
Some of the students found that they wanted to take some specific classes before graduating and, unfortunately, would not have time to take them if they went abroad. There are also those who cannot study abroad if they want to complete their major. For example, Marc Blumberg (CMC ’15), an Economics-Engineering (3-2) major, is staying on campus to complete all his required courses before he applies after three years at CMC to Harvey Mudd College for his last two years of school. With regards to choosing the 5C education over studying abroad, I think Katya Abazajian (CM ‘14) put it best when she told me that, “To those who want to take substantive classes and are loving their education here at CMC, I’d recommend not going abroad—because if you’re taking substantive classes abroad, you’re just not doing it right.”
What are the benefits of staying in Claremont?
One of the benefits of staying is being able to take classes that you would not be able to abroad. Hannah Burak (CMC ‘13) explained that, by staying in Claremont, she “got the opportunity to continue taking econ classes and eventually added it as a major—something [she] could not have done otherwise.”
In addition to taking classes at the 5C’s, choosing not to study abroad allows juniors to work on projects that they would not have time to work on otherwise. For example, Burak took advantage of this extra time on campus by taking “on leadership of the Claremont Independent for a full year—one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of [her] life.” Abazajian also said that she had “been able to start projects that will allow [her] to travel for academic reasons, so that has been a huge perk.”
Would you recommend staying in Claremont to freshmen and sophomores considering studying abroad?
The responses that I got point to the fact that the decision really depends on each individual student’s preference. For some students, a 5C education trumps partying abroad. Other students believe that traveling once one has graduated is more valuable when taking into account opportunity costs from not spending four years at the 5C’s, such as Abazajian, who told me, “Traveling is not unique to college—having accomplished professors willing to freely share their knowledge with you and help you develop into an educated person is.”