The Thought Catalog article “How Studying Abroad Can Feel Like Being on the Real World” got me thinking. Is it true that a semester abroad is like spending a few months in the MTV Real World House? At first glance, probably, we’re all young, in a new setting, and drinking wayy too much. But are we reaching levels of MTV worthy drama? To investigate further I figured I’d break down The Thought Catalog’s article piece by piece.
“Studying abroad feels like being on The Real World because you do both when you’re twenty-something and looking for a Cultural Experience.” Truth.
“If you study abroad in Europe your student apartment might come completely furnished with IKEA products, just like The Real World house.” What? Where did she go?! I didn’t have a Jacuzzi, 8 person shower, or Andy Warhol paintings. I had lumpy pillows and a broken water heater. False.
“It’s not a coincidence your study abroad roommates uncannily resemble cast members from The Real World.” Umm I wish I had hottie roommates like Danny from the Real World Austin season living with me. Instead I had 18 Melindas and a miserable male to female ratio.
“Youths post The Real World see themselves and each other as one of the seven strangers; it made them identify as one of these one-dimensional archetypes in order to relate to the show.” Check out 10 Types of People You’ll Meet in Your Study Abroad Program to see the study abroad archetypes.
“The Real World teaches us to believe people who move far away, with strangers, are obviously unhappy in their relationships and don’t actually intend to make it work overseas. Cheating? A dramatic break up over the phone? You’ve learned to expect both.” LDRs bring the same drama on study abroad. Get ready for skyping and tears.
“Your study abroad technological deprivation sounds a lot like the one landline, one computer, no TV restrictions on The Real World.” Somewhat true. It was harder to stay in the loop about stuff like the new popular songs in the U.S. / friends and family back home/ etc. But who cares? I was abroad! I had much better things to do than glue myself to some piece of technology.
“Minimal responsibility and limited technology creates a breeding ground for non-productivity (laying in bed all day, gossiping..and excessive partying).” Wait, bed all day, gossiping, excessive partying, did she just describe college? Seriously though, I traveled to a different country every weekend on study abroad. That’s the opposite of lazy. Now I’m lazy.
“Blurred local faces pick fights on every season of The Real World. If you study abroad in an area dominated by American students, chances are the locals won’t want to be your BFF. They tease you in the streets and yell “oh my God!” at you from a distance.” Truth. Locals will give you extra attention just like the cast members on the Real World probably get in the US. Try to avoid fulfilling the American on study abroad stereotype and make local friends.
“Study abroad academic course loads seem far more lenient than back home. Sound familiar? The Real World cast members must maintain a bullshit job to stay in their house. Does anyone ever get fired even when they do terrible work? No. Does everyone pass study abroad classes after putting in close to no effort? Yes. Enough said.” Haha okay, I agree with the statement that study abroad classes are easier. But– that doesn’t mean you’re not learning in them. I had my professors as personal tour guides in Europe’s museums and traveled all over Italy to study ancient Etruscan tombs. Maybe I didn’t cry during finals week or pull any academically related all nighters but I learned something.
Conclusion: Studying abroad really is like being on The Real World. You’re young, you’re free, and your only responsibility is to have a good time. Sounds pretty good.