Sophomore Torey Samuel Bates is not going abroad this upcoming fall, but she said it is not because she is too lazy, too scared or a ‘”homebody."

Bates went through the whole study abroad application process before she decided not to go, including attending meetings and communicating with advisers.

In the end, she chose not to go because of a mix of academic and personal reasons. 

“I know it sounds nerdy, but I have this four-year plan of classes I’m going to take and study abroad just did not fit into it,” she said. She also said she felt as if she had already gotten an adequate amount of experiences abroad through a study abroad program in high school and vacations with her family.

Since Bates made her decision not to go abroad, she has constantly had to justify herself to other students, she said.

“A lot of people think you’re lazy if you don’t go because they think you did not want to fill out the application, or they think you did not want to go through getting a visa, and traveling and stuff,” she said. 

Despite the widespread assumption that most University of Richmond juniors study abroad during fall semester, there are many students who choose to stay behind. About 57 percent of juniors do not study abroad during the fall semester, Michele Cox, director of study abroad, said.

“There are many students who have had multiple experiences abroad," Cox said, "not only through semester study abroad, but through summer study abroad, Sophomore Students in Residence or they might have received funding from the Richmond Guarantee to go."

In each graduating class, 60 percent of students study abroad at some point in their four years, Cox added.

Junior Rebecca Rohn decided against taking a semester to study abroad for financial reasons, she said. 

“The way that the aid is set up did not really work with my financial situation, so that was the main reason I did not study abroad,” she said.

Rohn said she believed there were a lot of positives to staying on campus, but if she had been in a different situation financially, she would have chosen to go abroad to gain the experience.

Senior Lester Primero's academic pursuits kept him from going abroad. As a student double-majoring in healthcare studies and biochemistry and molecular biology, he cited the struggle of finding courses abroad that would transfer back to UR as why he chose not to spend a semester abroad.

“For science majors, it is a lot harder to find classes that could accommodate for their major or requirements abroad," he said. “Science majors generally have a larger course load that is more time intensive as well.”

Junior Isabel Rusher is a member of the golf team on campus, which is what kept her from being able to study abroad during the fall semester of her junior year. She completed an eight-week internship in Sydney, Australia, over the summer, however, which allowed her to feel as if she did not miss out on anything, she said.

Rusher is grateful that she had a valid reason for not studying abroad, as she said she feels people are judged when they do not. 

“I feel like people are very judged if they don’t go abroad and they don’t have a good reason," she said. "But, I think it is a very reasonable thing to stay here. I really enjoyed staying here.”

Junior Anna Lowenthal also did a summer internship in Sydney, Australia, instead of studying abroad the fall semester of her junior year.

“I had always planned on doing fall semester study abroad my junior year, but then I was an orientation advisor my sophomore year and I completely fell in love with orientation," she said. 

Lowenthal got involved with orientation leadership, for which she gave up the opportunity to study abroad in the fall semester of my junior year, she said.

Lowenthal said that the fall semester of her junior year was her favorite semester yet. 

"I got to hang out with a lot of people who I would not have otherwise hung out with and I kind of just got to be my own individual person," she said.

Contact features writer Anna Ricci at anna.ricci@richmond.edu.

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