I had an interesting discussion with a few students this weekend, primarily on the subject of where is best to study? The group where split between looking to study at a college nearby your home and those who wanted to study as far away as possible! There’s probably no right or wrong answer but I must admit I did side with those who were a little bit more adventurous. For me studying at college is about more than just the subject you study, it’s about taking those first tenuous steps into real life. One of my endearing memories on my first term away from home is trying to figure out how I got my clothes clean. It sounds stupid but the thought had never, ever, occured to me, but eventually I found myself in a laundrette. I made loads of mistakes there, but slowly realised what I needed to take, how the machines worked and by the end of my degree I actually rather enjoyed it.
Of course, if I’d lived near home I’d never have bothered with this problem, simply delivering my laundry back home to my mom every weekend. It sounds trivial but I think it’s a great example of learning to become self sufficient. There needs to be a time when you learn to take those first few steps of actually running your own life, I think college is a great time to do this. In reality you don’t need to be too far away to achieve this, anywhere will do as long as the move doesn’t involve a weekly trip back home. I can certainly see the benefits of living at home and going to a local college – financially it’s a whole lot cheaper.
But if funds allow, I’d advise getting as far away from home as practical. If you’re wealthy, try another country, especially if you’ve got a language element to your course. Where would it be best to learn Italian, downtown Chicago or a college in Napoli? You’ll be sad, nervous and indeed somewhat homesick but the experience will be so much more rewarding. IN fact in the internet age, it’s so easy to stay in touch with home using Skype, email and messaging systems. If you’re a bit lonely you can normally use a VPN or proxy server to connect back to home related TV stations too. When my friend went to study in America he used a security program which allowed him to watch BBC TV anywhere, it was he said a vital link to back home – here’s how http://www.uktv-online.com/. Not sure I’d miss my American TV stations as much, but then again perhaps I might.
The simple truth is that where you study is often restricted by other factors but if you have the chance I’d urge you to get as far away from home as possible !!!
With Thanks – Joe Simpson, BBC iPlayer Australia