2021 Fall Korea Rebekah Harding Temple Exchange

Preparing for my last semester of undergrad while studying abroad

It seems like just yesterday I was anxiously preparing to move into my freshman year dorm room in Johnson Hall on Main Campus in Philadelphia— fast forward three years later and I’m suddenly in a foreign country, in the middle of a pandemic, preparing to graduate in the spring. While studying abroad can feel surreal, I had to snap back to reality when I realized I still have so much to prepare before I can walk the stage in May. One misstep and I’ll be back on campus in the fall; and while I love Temple, I think my professors are sick of me by now. 

In the middle of a midterm-induced panic, I reached out to my advisor at Klein College of Media and Communication, the home of my primary major to check in about my progress and to confirm what classes I’m able to take in the spring. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to check back in with your advisors during your semester abroad, especially if you’re a senior. I triple checked my course approvals and realized I needed to get a couple of my courses approved again due to some minor changes in course title. I definitely didn’t want any surprises upon applying to graduate. 

For Klein College journalism students in particular, it’s especially important to double check how many Klein-based electives you’re allowed to take. For journalism majors, we’re only allowed to take a certain number of non-journalism Klein electives— and while I’ve avoided taking any for the past four years, personal branding in the advertising department just looked so fun. After going over DARS and chatting with my counselor, I’m way less stressed knowing I’ve got the green light to have that course cover my final free elective requirement upon my return. 

Another big concern for many exchange students is securing an internship for your return to campus. After all, nothing is worse than the last, competitive scramble to grab the last internship spots after all of your peers have already started working at their respective programs. My biggest advice? Start looking early. 

Earlier in the semester, I was able to reach out to a publication I really enjoy and interview for their fall internship cycle. During the interview, I was transparent that the time difference would be a problem this semester, but luckily, the interview went so well that I was offered a spot in their spring internship cycle. Score! 

Taking a deep breath, it felt refreshing to know that I was all set for the spring semester upon my return— but my anxiety continued to keep me up at night. Was I missing something? 

Then I realized. “Oh yeah, grad school.”

Just because I was currently living it up in a foreign country doesn’t mean I was exempt from deadlines— and they’re coming in quick. 

Luckily, the Temple’s Writing Center is still available to help me with my personal statements from across the globe, even with a huge time difference. Currently, there is an option to do asynchronous e-tutoring sessions with a writing tutor to get some feedback without having to wake up at dawn for a Zoom meeting. I’ll definitely be using this service in the coming weeks as I race against the clock to tackle priority application deadlines.

Remember, study abroad isn’t a vacation— so don’t forget to prepare for your return to Main Campus. Especially if you’re a graduating senior like me.

Learn about opportunities for returning students on Main Campus.

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