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Studying abroad or just traveling outside of your comfort zone can be a monumental event in one’s life. Just look at all the videos on YouTube, the countless movies made, and the SJU flyers that advertise the same idea: studying abroad can change your life, expand your mind, and expose you to hundreds of new opportunities. It is no surprise that this experience has inspired many authors to write about the adventure and intellectual development that can occur while traveling.
“Again, but Better” by Christine Riccio
Riccio, a New York Times best selling author, debuted her novel in May 2019. As an influential BookTuber –– a YouTuber whose content revolves around literature –– Riccio uses her platform on YouTube to share her own experiences traveling abroad, review novels and document the process of writing this novel. The story follows Shane Primaveri, a 20-year-old college student who has been doing college wrong. She has just been surviving: not joining clubs, not making friends and going home every weekend — At least until she discovers a study abroad program in London and decides to start her college experience all over again. This book is great if you are looking for insight into an exciting college life or the specifics of living in London at a young age. Written based on Riccio’s own studies abroad, “Again, but Better” is sure to inspire new beginnings and encourage you to follow your passions.
“13 Little Blue Envelopes” by Maureen Johnson
Taking a step back to a 2005 standout, Johnson tells a story of finding family, strengthening relationships, and strengthening love through the main character Ginny, the summer before her final year of high school. Sent on a mysterious European global scavenger hunt, she must navigate the ups and downs of being abroad on her own and on a budget. This novel is a quick humorous read with twists that will keep you surprised until the end.
“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho
Although many are required to read this novel in school, it has earned its place in the English curriculum. Coelho’s novel follows the journey of Santiago, a shepherd and student of life, and the cast of characters he meets along the way. At first glance, this may not seem like a study abroad story, but here the world is his teacher. The reader learns many life lessons about making decisions, being open to adventure, and focusing on your own journey.
“My Oxford Year” by Julia Whelan
Back in a more contemporary setting, 24-year-old Ella Durran is getting her dream of studying overseas at Oxford. Setting off with big ambitions, Ella has an unexpected meet-cute that spills into her academic life. This novel soon takes you on a heartbreaking and warming story that discusses what it means to follow your dream and assesses what you truly value in your life.
“Anna and the French Kiss” by Stephanie Perkins
Perkins tells the story of Anna and her new boarding school –– in Paris, for her final year of high school. Not to be judged by its seemingly simplistic name, this YA classic is a story of finding friends, assimilating to a new culture, and falling in love. This heartwarming contemporary is sure to have you glued to the pages, until the last word. For more in the same style, but closer to home check out the rest of the trilogy’s love stories: “Lola and the Boy Next Door” and “Isla and the Happily Ever After”.
Hopefully, these stories have sparked a desire to travel and maybe even to study abroad here at SJU. For more info on St. John’s study abroad opportunities check out http://studyabroad.stjohns.edu/ or visit the Office of International Education in Marillac Hall 210.