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International Education Center - Study Abroad

Studying abroad takes the educational and work experience to a new level. In today’s globalized market only 4% ever study abroad. This leaves 96% of Americans with a view, often inaccurately portrayed, of other countries. This allows stereotypes to flourish and misinformation to be repeated.

 

Study Abroad

 

Education is more than just textbooks! It’s learning from everyone you meet and there is more possibility for that with spending some time studying or working abroad. You get to see there’s more to France than Paris, there’s more to Australia than the Barrier Reef, sharks and crocodiles and there’s more to the USA than what is portrayed in the media. In almost any country that country seems to be “defined” by the cities, and yet universally when people get out of those big cities they see a whole different view of the country.

 

The people are different, the daily routine is different. Many times things we take for granted is different, such as many electrical appliances in the UK vs USA being different wiring capacity. Studying abroad can bring to the forefront these differences while allowing you – and your host residents – to find common ground, rather than defining differences.

 

This is no longer solely a luxury opportunity to study overseas. The world is changing! Time spent studying abroad is an opportunity that is bigger than at any time before.

 

There are many great reasons to study abroad. Learning new cultures, new ways of doing things and the differences, as well as similarities, between our own country and another is an obvious benefit. With today’s global market there can be jobs available to those with that international experience.

 

These need not be just work related things. Day to day living in different countries can be very different as well as very much the same, and these comparisons can offer an understanding that goes beyond just working. It gives you a chance to see a country and a culture from the inside. Many times we visit somewhere and we’re enthralled with it, but after six or eight months different views can come to light. This can be a good thing and also in seeing the reality even the negativity can be minimized and handled if done so with understanding.

 

As much as working and studying abroad allows for meeting and learning other people and customs it also can teach us much about ourselves. What is our belief? Does that change on being with people not from our home country? If so how does it change? These things might generate different answers for different students. Don’t be surprised to hear different points of view and sometimes different versions of world events from those in other countries who HAVE a different view than our own in some cases. Remember that neither is necessarily wrong but there are different perspectives to many situations.

 

Some students believe that studying abroad is just for language arts majors and this couldn’t be further from the truth! Taking time to study in another country is an asset in that you can learn from the best. If you’re making maximum use of your education dollars doesn’t it make sense to learn from the world’s best? This is possible today unlike any time in the past.

 

Studying abroad is not just a student exchange program. There are options for signing up through many home universities or directly. Studying abroad through exchange programs can be an option even through many high schools for a taste of another country, with prescreened families acting as host families during the student’s trip.

 

Studying abroad might be similar but usually is involving older students of university age and up. These may or may not be people who wish to be overseas forever but rather recognize that higher education isn’t just within our own countries.

 

Many opportunities for studying abroad are in many ways earned. Students must have a good grade point average and demonstrate the ability to take on challenges, which traveling abroad certainly can be!

 

Students may come to the US for business, or study cooking in France or design in Italy. There might be technology or other majors learned in Japan. While it is true some things are stereotypes it’s also true that the chance to learn from other countries is great.

 

Competition for financial aid is much tougher for those going to English speaking countries due to the belief that one must speak another language before going. There are language courses to help you! It is true that you will benefit much more if you know at least some of the native language, but if your research and heart says that Germany or Brazil or Asia is the destination for you don’t make the mistake of discounting it because you don’t know the language!

 

This was greatly underscored by a young man from Chile who came to the US to work and learn just basic life. He landed in California and knew not a word of English, but with the help of people at a hostel communication became easier as he learned words and phrases. In many areas too there are people who speak multiple languages but don’t let language get in the way of an education!

 

One student completed two years of college in Canada then went to Australia for two years to be a teacher. The specialty is International Development with an eye towards working for an international educational organization at completion. The reason for Australia  was being able to get the teaching degree quicker than going to other countries. This puts her in the work force, with unique international skills going for an international job with a much bigger goal than teaching locally.

 

The five top destinations for US students studying abroad have in recent years been the UK, Italy, Spain, France and Australia. Mexico, Germany, Ireland, Costa Rica and China are also popular, with increasing numbers of students looking at Asian countries. New Zealand is also increasing as a destination for education.