Last school year, I had an amazing opportunity to study abroad for not one but two semesters. In the fall, I studied in Madrid, Spain. In the spring, I studied in Nantes, France. If you go to a school where you could have the opportunity to study abroad for two semesters, I would highly recommend taking it because:
You will already be experienced at traveling and being away from home for so long. Since you would have gone through everything once, it will make your second time being away a little easier. You will know what it is like to have to make adjustments when living in another country, you will learn travel hacks that come with experience, and you will know how to better balance your time between study and traveling.
When I did my two semesters abroad, I dedicated one to traveling every single weekend and another semester to being more like a local. My first semester away, I stayed in the capital of Spain, so it was very easy to travel to other places. There was an international airport and buses that went all over Spain. When I was in France, I still traveled but not nearly as much as I did the semester before. I got to focus more on getting to know Nantes as well as the people living there, doing an English-teaching internship, and taking Zumba classes to keep in shape.
This is a pretty obvious one but you will get to make the opportunity to meet more people. You can meet people where you are studying or through your travels! When I was in Madrid, I did Spanish-French language exchanges where I got to make a great group of people who also dedicated time to studying the French language. I once did an English-Portuguese language exchange with a Brazilian and we even got to speak some Spanish. In Nantes, I got to know people from church and the restaurants I frequented.
Another obvious plus of studying abroad more than once is that you will have more time to travel. Whether you study for both semesters in the same continent or you decide to do a semester in two completely different places, you will not have to worry about fitting all your dream trips into three months. Didn’t have time to visit England while you were studying in Germany? Try next semester!
Ultimately, going abroad, especially if you choose to study in two different countries will give you two different cultural experiences. Every cultural experience is unique. Going from the United States to Spain to France were not huge cultural adjustments for me. However, they are three different countries and have some cultural differences. If you get the chance, live with a host family for an authentic cultural experience. Get to know each family. Get to know what it is like to live like a local and not a tourist.
Studying abroad is different for every school. In the case of my school, going abroad for a semester cost the same as staying at my school. At other schools, it is more expensive and not as realistic to go abroad two times. Then there are schools like one that I visited with my younger sister during her college search that allow students to study abroad three times, including one time during their freshman year. If you are fortunate enough to go to a school like that but are unsure of going abroad in the first place, I would suggest not only going abroad but going abroad for a whole year. Studying overseas has something special in store for everyone whether they are looking for a cultural experience, language immersion, or simply a change in environment.