Despite the significant personal growth I experienced during my first undergraduate study abroad experience, I never felt comfortable making the jump to a full 1-semester or 1 year study abroad during my undergrad. This was something I always regretted and which was, in retrospect, a bit silly. When I graduated, my graduation gift was a three month trip to Europe. Solo. Somehow I was willing and ready to do that, even though the far more "comfortable" semester abroad had seemed too intimidating just a few months earlier. I suppose timing is everything.
After returning from my three month trip through Europe, the first two months of which were done solo, my travel exploded. I started a job as Director of Research (Analyst initially) for a mid-market Mergers and Acquisitions group and structured my two weeks of time off a year in a way that overlapped with vacation time. By combining holiday vacation time with unpaid vacation I was able to do two trips a year for 18-21 days a piece. This was my general life and travel style between January 2008 and June 2011 when I left my position and returned to grad school.
I decided that enough time had passed that I missed the academic environment. My job was good and secure, so it was less an issue of needing to go back, and more one of being eager to expand my horizons. I knew I wanted to expand my social network, and that I wanted to leave Arizona. I wish I could say my decision process was more rigorous but in reality I just pulled up a list of the top 100 universities in the world. Then made my way down the first 50 looking at where they were located, asking if it was somewhere I wanted to live, and then looking to see if they had a program tied to Communication.
Of the schools I applied to, the final decision came down to Georgetown in DC and University of Copenhagen (KU) in Denmark. While a very difficult decision KU offered me a tuition waiver vs. Georgetown's $30,000 a year in tuition. KU also provided the opportunity to work, live and study abroad in Copenhagen - one of my favorite cities in the world. There's also something spectacular and perhaps a bit romantic about studying at a University that pre-dates the settlement of your home country. The University was founded in 1479.