An inside look at the study abroad student

"This is a photo of a sunset in Paris, taken 2 days before the terrorist attacks. I went to Paris over one of my study breaks to celebrate my birthday. It was so beautiful and peaceful while I was there, I'm happy that's the way I'll remember it." - Hannah Young

Hannah Young

“This is a photo of a sunset in Paris, taken 2 days before the terrorist attacks. I went to Paris over one of my study breaks to celebrate my birthday. It was so beautiful and peaceful while I was there, I\’m happy that\’s the way I\’ll remember it.” – Hannah Young

When one makes the choice to study abroad, they go into it expecting a changed person to result from it. What many may not realize is that the impact on their life comes sooner than expected.

The application process itself does not change you, but once you are accepted, you find yourself making incremental changes to your life. Whether it be adjusting your study time to research more about what to expect while abroad or thinking more on how to make yourself less of an American in your day to day living so you won’t stick out.

You are also required to do an additional list of tasks, ones far more tedious than the ones needed to do for the original application. One of these things, and one of the most major changes you will make prior to studying abroad, is through attending orientation sessions here with Global Studies.

During orientation students are required to learn about a variety of things, from concerns voting while abroad to how to be a good traveler and not a bad one. You also have the option to have family members have their own orientation with Raine de Campeau, Director of Global Studies. At the end of it all there is even a panel of students who have studied abroad there to answer questions and address any concerns you or your family may have.

You might ask how orientation can change a person. For many it opens their eyes to a new adventure and new possibilities to be had in a place you have never been before. It allows you to connect with other students, some of whom may be able to give you advice on if it is your first time going abroad. But most of all it allows you to gain awareness of things that you need to work on before you leave, so that you can have the most successful time abroad.

Many of you may now be thinking to yourself, is it worth it to put all of my time and energy towards applying? The answer that students have to give to you is a resounding yes!

One of those students is Alexis Haley-Brown ’17, a History major. She has already not once but twice studied abroad.

“[Studying abroad] allowed me to be part of a culture that accepted me for who I was, and that changed my life.” Haley-Brown said. “It is [also] important to learn both sides of history,”

Haley-Brown will be traveling to Scotland this summer and Norway in the fall semester.

Take a closer look at that dream trip in the study abroad catalog, ask about study abroad programs, and ask yourself: What have I got to lose by doing this? The answer may be nothing, so get out there and start your application!

If you liked this article, watch out for articles from Kayla Kearney next Fall, which will be coming to you all the way from London, England. Feel free to email Kayla with any questions you may have or any suggestions for topics to cover while she is over there!

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