When a study abroad opportunity crosses your path in college, don’t hesitate to snatch it!
By Valerie Mundt
Language, culture, memories, and adventure…are just a few words that describe a trip worth experiencing as a college student. In addition to your chosen major or career path, you may have other interests that you would like to explore more in-depth when you are in college. Students often take a semester to study abroad in a place that gives them an opportunity to learn and observe their interests first hand while creating new friendships along the way. These four categories create a real-world experience that enhances one’s mind outside of campus.
When studying abroad, students hear a whole new language; one that sounds different and is unique to the ear. Natives in other countries may speak fast and express themselves in a way that is fascinating and breath-taking when you study the elements of their language. Students can also develop a new skill: the ability to become bilingual. This can help them when they begin to search for jobs in their career. For instance, a few of my former classmates traveled to Spain where they were able to learn and grasp the language. While on this journey, one of them developed an interest in minoring in Spanish. This experience opened up a window of learning something in addition to one’s main field of study. When students step out beyond the classroom, they expand their mind and horizon. They become active learners as they grasp the sound and words of a foreign language.
This second category represents their way of life in their country. Students can observe how the natives embrace their culture through art, music, work, dress, education, religion, and home life. These are a vast array of components, that when meshed together, create a culture of unique grandeur. While studying abroad one can immerse oneself in their culture as they learn the history and study these elements. Students have an opportunity to gain insight into how people in other countries express themselves. Creativity is also sparked as students are exposed to the arts and architectural pieces of a particular culture. The buildings and monuments standing in the midst of their college abroad may be more historical, more cultural and artistic. Students have the ability to explore the creativity and passion behind the architecture in another country. While observing the different shapes, designs, and colors, inspiration fills their minds. Art students in particular, have the opportunity to enhance their own artistic ability. One of my classmates loved to paint anything that caught the eye. When she visited a foreign country, she learned their form of art. This is how exploring culture can help students on their study abroad.
While on this journey, students create long lasting memories that they can share with others when they return back home. Studying abroad enables them to meet new people and create friendships overseas. Students can learn from the natives as well as teach them some of their own culture and passions. This is a time when they can make connections with other foreign students. As one studies, he or she can document and capture each moment of learning and enjoyable times. Whether through a pictures or posts on social media, students can keep their memories and journal their experience far from home.
A new place, a new journey, change of scenery, historical places galore, hidden bends, different faces, and bumpy roads are some descriptions of an epic adventure in your life as a college student. The language, culture, and memories enhance the adventures of a semester studying abroad. Open up your eyes and mind to the world that sits outside the walls of a classroom. When a study abroad opportunity crosses your path in college, don’t hesitate to snatch it. Take, embrace, and enjoy a semester of learning and gaining that real world experience. Develop your skills and chase your passions while studying on foreign land.