Need some advice on my final undergrad semester

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Matthew Gerring

Nov 8, 2011, 2:02:51 PM11/8/11
Hi CoPress folks,

I apologize for the slight off-topic post, but I'm looking for some advice on what would be the best path to take for my last undergrad semester, and since many of you work in the industry I'm hoping to join after college, I though you all might be able to help me out.

I have a choice between going to Masaryk University in Brno for my final undergrad semester, studying Czech politics and society while writing for the school newspaper's English-language version, or staying behind at San Jose State and spending a semester finishing my last three required courses and writing for the Spartan Daily as a senior staff member.

I have some experience traveling in foreign countries, but I've never lived in one for a long period of time. I'm not sure studying abroad is necessary to do this, though, and studying abroad has the potential to set back my degree by a semester. By staying behind, I also think I would be able to write more in-depth stories and add to my clips and portfolio in a way that I may not in the Czech Republic. I would also be able to save about $2,000, which I could probably use to travel through western Europe over the Summer.

On the other hand, I've heard from many people that life tends to get in the way of traveling after college, and I'm not sure visiting western Europe, even though I would be staying with friends rather than in hostels, would provide the same experience as studying abroad. I also know that eastern Europe would be a vastly different experience than western Europe, where most of my friends live, and that studying in a foreign country would provide a different perspective than simply traveling, though both offer tremendous opportunities for learning.

I'm not at all intimidated by travel, or by traveling solo and off the beaten path, but my preference for study abroad would have been South America as I know some Spanish but no Czech. However, I can't shake the feeling that studying at a foreign university would be worth it in and of itself, no matter which university I choose.

What do you all think? What would be more valuable in terms of journalism experience? If you can offer any advice, please let me know. I have to put up a $500 deposit by Friday if I'm going to do it.

Thanks for any help you can provide,
Matthew Gerring

Suzanne Yada

Nov 8, 2011, 2:25:14 PM11/8/11
It all depends on how much money is truly an issue. If you can afford it, study abroad. If you can't afford it... study abroad anyway.

That's my irresponsible answer. :)
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Twitter: @suzanneyada

Kevin Koehler

Nov 10, 2011, 2:06:29 PM11/10/11
If you want to study abroad, DO IT. Five years from now, nobody will care about one semester. In fact, it may not make much difference to hiring managers you'll be talking to in a few months. A couple feature clips does not a career make. Breadth of experience is good for journalists (and everyone, I guess).

I've always regretted not going abroad when I had the chance. Don't be like me.

Greg Linch

Nov 13, 2011, 10:00:57 PM11/13/11
Another vote for going abroad. 

Lauren Rabaino

Nov 13, 2011, 10:04:26 PM11/13/11
And another. One of my college regrets is not going abroad to study.

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