You are in an unfamiliar place surrounded by unfamiliar faces. Your usual friends aren’t with you, and you likely won’t be going home to see your family at 3:25 p.m. After graduating from high school, your new learning environment is completely alien to you. In addition, you are thousands of miles from home, in an area where no one is speaking your language.
This could be reality for a number of Bexley students who are applying to international colleges this year.
Senior Anna Hughes is applying to two schools in Estonia: Tartu University in Tartu, and TalTech University in Tallinn. She said that her mom is from Estonia and that all of her family on her mom’s side lives there.
“I have dual citizenship with Estonia, so [university] would be free for me,” Hughes explained.
She said that she is applying to Tartu University for its medical school.
“The med school at Tartu is just six years of straight med school,” Hughes said. “I wouldn’t be doing four years of pre-med and then four years of med school like America would have.”
She added that it would be a two hour train ride to see her family if she attended Tartu.
“Estonia is a really small country,” Hughes said. “It’s smaller than Ohio and has less people.”
Hughes said that she loves the culture and Estonia in general.
“It’s so full of nature, the people are so funny and just how everybody interacts with each other is really nice,” she said.
However, Hughes added that she is nervous about studying abroad because interacting with people her age might be a challenge.
“People my age have slang, and I know American slang, but I don’t know Estonian slang,” she said.
Unlike Hughes, a language barrier is not a concern for senior Marissa Smith.
Smith said she is applying to McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. She said she plans to study biology.
Smith said she does not speak French although there is a very prevalent French population in Montreal.
“In Montreal, all the signs have French and English on them,” Smith explained. “I don’t think I’ll necessarily need French to get by.”
She said that she was choosing to apply internationally because they have different opportunities offered that aren’t always available in American universities.
“McGill has an amazing medical school, which is what it’s mainly known for,” Smith explained. “If I were to study biology undergrad, they would have a ton of scientific research and possibly connections to other med schools, which would be great.”
In addition, she said that Canadian schools are much more multicultural than schools in the U.S.
She added that she doesn’t have any reservations about going to college abroad.
“I’m really excited for it,” Smith said. “I just want to be really far away from home.”
Senior Miller MacDonald is also applying internationally. MacDonald said he’s applying to the University of Cambridge and the University College London, both in England, as well as St. Andrews in Scotland.
“My parents have encouraged me to apply internationally for a while,” he explained. “They don’t think there’s all that good of a reason to stay in the U.S. with rising college prices and the political and social climate.”
He added that he wants to major in mathematics, and Cambridge is one of the best universities in the world for that.
However, MacDonald said that the application process for UK universities isn’t favorable to international applicants.
“I think the whole process of studying abroad is completely alien,” he said. “In general, [the UK’s] philosophy is centered more around academics and test scores than the U.S.”
He added that students get a much deeper understanding of the curriculum because the courses are very rigorous. He said he thinks international college would be a different experience, not necessarily better or worse than in America.
“I’d be an ocean away from any family or friends,” MacDonald said. “But I think it would be fun, too.”