Study Abroad

Top 5 Reasons to Study Abroad

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During your time in college, you may have an opportunity to study at an institution in another country. Many college students partake in this opportunity, as it can be a life changing experience. Here are some of the top reasons to study abroad:

1. New Way of Learning

You may have a 4.0 GPA at your home institution, but wouldn’t it be great to step outside of your old familiar classrooms and libraries? Studying abroad can offer a fantastic opportunity to continue your studies in an environment that is completely new and fresh.

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2. Travel

Once you graduate college and have a full time job, you may not have the opportunity to spend a few weeks or months in a foreign country. Take this time to travel while you have minimal responsibilities elsewhere.

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3. Interact with other cultures

Everyone does not have the opportunity to interact and make friends with people from other countries. Studying abroad could give you the chance to see what college life is like in a country that is unfamiliar to you.

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4. Expand your world perspective

It’s easy to get comfortable in your own mindset and cultures, but traveling internationally can give you a fresh perspective on the world, your life, and how it all fits together. The world will seem much smaller when you realize that we all have much more in common than we think!

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5. Learn a new language

Studying abroad can be especially beneficial to those studying linguistics or who wish to learn another language fluently. No amount of textbook studying can compare to one-on-one conversation with a native speaker of the language you are studying.

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Have you studied abroad? What were your reasons? Let us know in the comments below!

The “What I Wish I Knew about Education Abroad” List for Students

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study-abroadAs the semester comes to an end, the majority of us are focused on surviving finals week and getting home for the holidays. However, many students, myself included, are preparing to spend time studying abroad for a few weeks, or even a semester. Although I am now very excited for my trip, my education abroad journey has not been all smooth sailing. There are a million and one things I wish I had known when I began planning my trip abroad. Here are just a few tips that I hope will make the process a little easier for anyone who is considering education abroad.

START EARLY: I repeat, do NOT wait until the last minute to start planning your trip (like I did). Although it’s not impossible to plan an education abroad trip last minute, it is definitely more difficult. If you are at all interested in studying abroad, go meet with an education abroad ASAP. Different programs have different requirements. It is absolutely never too early to get started!

 
Decide where you want to go: One of the most important education abroad decisions you will make is where to go. One of my majors is Spanish, so I chose to study in Seville, Spain in order to complete the requirements for my major. Many colleges offer many areas of stud. But, you need to think about which cultures and experiences will benefit you the most academically. No matter where you go, you will have a great time and make awesome memories, so make sure it’s going to pay off towards your degree.

Find a friend: Chances are, you know someone who has studied abroad in the past. Use them as a resource! Don’t annoy them of course, but ask them to get coffee or lunch with you someday so that you can ask them questions and advice.

Don’t let money stop you: If you’re anything like me, you may be hesitant about education abroad because you think you can’t afford it. Surprisingly, my semester abroad is going to cost me less than a semester at my home university. Now, this may not be the case for everyone. But I promise, education abroad fees include A LOT. And, you can usually apply any scholarships, loans or grants that you receive at your current school to education abroad fees. There are also TONS of scholarships available to students who want to go abroad.

Although a good GPA, campus involvement and leadership experience are all important aspects of an impressive resume, education abroad gives students an advantage over the rest. Employers and graduate programs love seeing that a student has studied abroad. Not to mention, I have never spoken to a student who regretted their education abroad experience. Have any questions or suggestions of your own about education abroad? Let us know in the comments section below.

Learning a Foreign Language: An Emotional Rollercoaster

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My entire life, I always thought that it would be really cool to be able to speak other languages, but I never really wanted to put in the work to learn how to speak them. However, in order to be accepted into my university, I had to take at least two years of a language. So, with this in mind, during high school, I took Latin. My experience with Latin was mostly a terrible one, so I thought I would never take another language. However, I decided to take my chances in enrolling in a foreign language this semester. I enrolled in French, with no experience at all involving the language, and I’d like to explain my experience in the order that all these emotions occurred.

 

Confusion. In a class where absolutely no one has any previous experience with the language, the teacher wanted to get our class used to hearing French. In order to do this, she spoke in French for about 90 percent of the first week. This is, I might remind you, a language I do not speak.

 

Pride. Unlike Latin, with a spoken language, you are actually able to apply your new knowledge to everyday life. In the first week, I learned how to say “I don’t know” and “My name is Steven” and I felt amazing. I could walk around telling people who I was, and everyone was impressed.

 

Fascination. For about a month, French classes rolled by, and I loved learning new things every day.

 

Anger. If you’re going to make rules for verbs, and nouns, and conjugating them, why would there be exceptions?!? Why would they do that to us?!?

 

Acceptance. No matter how hard I tried, I would never be a master of the French language. So I accepted that when our teacher would teach us one word, I’d have to learn two. I’m not so sure about how well I maintained that rule, but it worked decently for the duration of my semester.

 

Happiness. At the end of the semester, we had an oral exam with our teacher, in which she would ask us questions, and we would have to talk to her in French. My happiness came from the fact that I could, indeed, respond to her, and I understood what she was saying….mostly.

 

Overall, I recommend taking a foreign language. It involved a decent amount of work, and definitely isn’t required in all cases, but it was fun, and I now have the ability to explain how many family members I have in a different language. What were your steps of emotions in your language classes?

Graduation Bucket List: How Your Final Year in College SHOULD Be

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You’ve made it this far.  You’re one year away from graduation, and aside from feeling anxious and excited, you’ve also got that bittersweet feeling that won’t go away.  Where will your friends be next year?  Where will you be?

Well, don’t think about that right now.  Make your senior year something memorable, something you will value for years to come.  You don’t want to remember your senior year as the year you worried about everything coming after it.  Consider these three points to make your final year the best it can be:

1.     Commit a moderate amount of time to studying

Whether you’re under-loading on classes your final semesters, writing a thesis, or taking a normal class load, you still can’t forget that your last set of grades are just as important as the rest.  Spend a considerable amount of time making sure you get your work in by your deadlines (no Senioritis, thank you!), and if you happen to slip up a couple times, just don’t make a habit of it.  It’s important to keep up your grades and sense of commitment to your courses.  After all, you’re going to need that same type of discipline after you graduate.

2.     Be sure to get out and have fun

Sometimes people focus too much on work, and don’t get out with their friends to have a good time once in a while.  Don’t overdo it (partying all nights of the weekend every weekend is a bit excessive for any year of college).  Find a good balance between work and play.  That is true for your college experience in general.  By senior year you should have a good grasp of that—however, most seniors are newly 21 and might go out more often than before due to less drinking restrictions.  Just have good sense and judgment.  You know how much work has been required in your last three years.  Be sure to go off of that so you can gauge how much time you’ll need to commit to everything else.

3.     Stay in your extracurricular activities

If you start to feel burnt out of everything you’re involved in after class, think hard about what you still want to be involved in.  Being in a club or other campus organization for multiple years is a great way to gain experience in that field and also looks good on a resume.  But don’t stay just for the resume boost.  Unless you realize the groups you’re involved with are no longer of interest to you, I highly recommend retaining your level of commitment to them.  Don’t get too lazy your senior year, otherwise you could end up quite bored.  It’s all about maintaining a sense of consistency across your four years.

You want your senior year to stand out, but you also don’t.  Find that equilibrium.  Be sure to study hard, but also to play hard, and graduate from your school with a bang.  Your last year should be the pinnacle, representative of the most recent and lasting memories you have of your undergraduate career.  Make this one count!

CWK: Living Where You Are

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Interning from home and in the city (New York that is), going to school in New Jersey and California (and Italy) and meeting people from all over the place is hard to keep up with.  The biggest piece of advice I can give anyone split between places: live where you are.

Whether you are returning back to school or studying abroad, focusing on where you are is important.

Personally, I have gotten very good at keeping in touch with people.  Between Facebook, Skype, iChat, cell phones and snail mail, there is no reason not to keep in touch with your closest friends; but problems occur when you get so wrapped up in all of that communication and start neglecting reality.

While studying abroad, I noticed some students staying in their apartments Skyping home instead of going out.  Ensuring your family you are safe and keeping in touch with friends every so often is one thing but missing out on once-in-a-lifetime experiences to sit in front of a screen is another.

A lot of this is caused by not wanting to say goodbye to someone before you leave.  Saying goodbye is hard.  As Rory Gilmore says in episode “The Long Morrow”, “There’s nothing good about a goodbye. It’s a very poorly named ritual.”

Realize when you go off to school or off to study abroad, you aren’t saying goodbye to your friends; you are saying see you later.

Another thing to realize is before going away for a semester, you know what you are leaving behind, but you have no idea exactly what the semester will bring.  Getting excited for the months ahead will get you in the right mindset when you find yourself at school instead of with your friends from home.

When apart from your friends, or someone who is “more than friends”, no matter what you do, you will miss them.  A part of growing up is realizing that no matter where you go, you will be missing someone.  Accepting that fact and enjoying the people you are around and the place you are is important.

Some fear the regret of losing touch, but realizing you aren’t taking advantage of the place you are is just as scary a thought.

The underlying piece of advice to all of this is balance.  There are lots of ways to balance exploring where you are and living in the moment with keeping in touch with friends.

Keep a blog, use social media and chat up or text your friends, but be sure to spend more time in reality than on a keyboard.