The Bigger The Better? Why I Chose To Study Abroad At A Small University
Admit it, you’ve asked yourself this question at least once in your life because, let’s be honest, SIZE DOES MATTER. But unlike what most people usually think, bigger does not always mean better. Here are 8 reasons why you should choose to go smaller when it comes to picking a university for your study abroad adventures, based on my personal experience.
There is always something going on
Before I started my adventure abroad, I was worried about not having anything to do in the small little town I was going to spend the next ten months. Luckily, all my fears disappeared when I moved in and saw how active the students were and how many activities the university organized. Sometimes I even need to say “no” because I am already participating in some other event!
You finally enjoy walking to school every morning
Let’s face it; sometimes going to class is not the most enjoyable thing to do, even if you are studying abroad. But living in a tiny town where everyone knows each other makes it a lot easier. Every morning, as I walk to my classes, I see my friends and many familiar faces wishing me a “great day” and cheering me up. Motivating each other is the key to survive to the stress of being a college student!
It is easier to get involved
If you are the kind of person that likes to participate in every possible event and can’t ever say no, a smaller university is the place to be. There are tons of clubs you can join, and since they tend to have smaller numbers, you can create close connections with people that share the same interests and passions as you.
You will know what people are talking about
One of the things I realized from living abroad is that you start to feel like you have finally blended in when you’re part of the community’s storytelling – whether that’s about who started dating who or what new restaurant is opening down the street. You might even find yourself telling locals what events are going on in their own town! Once you’re tapped into the grapevine it really starts to feel like home.
Getting to know your professors is easy and awesome.
Not only students get involved at small universities; professors do as well. My school organizes a couple of “wine and cheese” get-togethers where both students and teachers are invited to eat cheese (my favorite) and drink wine (my OTHER favorite) together while being dressed up fancy and discussing ideas. And who knows, you might find yourself playing the neuroscience version of Pictionary with your neuropsychology professor!
They’re more budget friendly
Most small universities are located in small towns, where living expenses such as rent or transportation are cheaper. You will also be able to go out for dinner or grab a beer with your friends without putting your savings account in danger.
Learning becomes fun again
Smaller universities have smaller class sizes, which mean fewer students. This allows teachers to initiate discussions where everyone gets a chance to participate and express their opinion. One of my teachers likes to have fun quizzes using one of those rubber chickens that make noises when you squeeze it. The first one to squeeze the plastic animal will be the first one to answer. If your answer is right, you get extra points and candy! Can learning get any more fun and delicious?
You are who you are and not a number
You are different, you are special. You know it and your teachers know it too. If you miss an assignment or cannot make it to class, they will notice your absence and ask you if you are feeling alright or if you need some extra time to finish your homework. You and your education matters.
I hope these 8 reasons will encourage you to go on the adventure of studying at a small school, in a small city. As I said, this is based on my personal experience so you might rather live with the bustle of a big city with lots of students, which also has its advantages. At the end, it all comes to a question:
What would you rather? Big or small?