Why study abroad?
A funny thing happens when you study abroad: You suddenly realize that maybe you don't know everything.
When you go abroad, you realize that the world is complex—but you’re more than capable of navigating it. You learn to communicate with a new group of people, and you start to find your niche in the world. Here are more reasons why you should study abroad.
Get inspired to go!
“It broadens the mind of the student to study abroad,” says Helle Byrn, director of the Marbella Design Academy in Málaga, Spain (designschool.com). “The student learns that things can be looked at from many different angles and becomes more tolerant toward other nationalities, religions and cultures. You are on your own in a foreign country, and you make so many new lifetime friendships with students from all over the world.”
What is it?
Studying abroad is becoming an integral part of the college experience, and most schools have programs of their own.
Study abroad programs simplify the process of traveling around the globe. The program often sets up your housing in an apartment, dorm or with a host family; coordinates your classes; and even balances costs so tuition is similar to what you would pay at home.
Each year, Michael Griffin, director of international programs at Holy Cross College in Notre Dame, Ind. (hcc-nd.edu), coordinates trips to Ghana and Peru. “The students, even the ones a bit nervous, love it,” he says. “Africa is not the usual destination of study abroad programs. But for today’s college student committed to solidarity and concern for the poor, it is places like Ghana and Peru where we need to be studying.”
Questions to ask
Considering studying abroad? Why should you study abroad? Ask the international director at your prospective college how the school chooses its host families, how much the program will cost and how you can make sure your credits will transfer.
Also start paying attention to the exchange rate in your host country. Work out a budget before you leave so you have an idea of what you’re spending. Don’t forget sightseeing and souvenir money, not to mention food, side trips and cash for spring break and weekends. And start getting your passport, visa and International Student ID Card now.
Next Steppers talk back:
Q: Where would you study abroad if money were no object?
A: I would go to Spain or France. Maybe even Africa. —Hannah Brown is a freshman at North High School in Torrance, Calif.
A: If money were no object, I would study abroad in Latin America mainly because I am curious in learning about the culture, and I want to know what it’s like to live surrounded by water. —Juliun L. Kinsey is a junior at the Academy of Business Administration at W. T. Loften High School in Gainesville, Fla.
A: Everywhere! I would switch schools every year. I think traveling makes you learn a lot about yourself and others. —Paola Mariselli is a sophomore at Broward Community College
A: I would like to go to Japan, because I want to take up digital art and media and Tokyo is one of the best cities ever, and they are the leader in modern technology! —Andrea Magsaysay is a senior at Oak Grove High School in San Jose, Calif.