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    Posted March 17, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Why study abroad? Ask Michelle Obama

    Abroaden your Horizons

    I was fortunate enough to study abroad in the Netherlands under IIE’s Gilman International Scholarship. Aside from being able to learn at a well-respected technical institution, I had the ability learn so much more outside the classroom. As a high school student, I had always had preconceptions on what studying abroad was and what the cultures I might experience would be like; this all changed upon studying abroad. I realized that I couldn’t go and study abroad with a load of preconceptions and ideas about what my study abroad experience will be like. I had to go in, take in your new environment, be molded by it, and by the time I left, hopefully make my own impression on it.

    Studying abroad offers an enhanced and eye-opening academic experience. You have the opportunity to see and experience the educational system of another country. For me, there was also a chance to observe the different methodologies and thinking that goes into cutting edge research abroad. The class I took was related to nuclear and radiation engineering. The experience was absolutely eye-opening upon realizing that due to the nuclear industry in the US being heavily regulated, the emphasis on classes and research pertaining to that industry is limited. Abroad, there is a massive amount of research and industries relying on nuclear power and services.

    While studying abroad does entail learning, that doesn’t mean that your learning has to be limited to the classroom. When you study abroad, your only tie to home are the people studying abroad with you. You learn to bond quickly with these people, to experience new things with these new people in new ways you never imagined. Though each of these people is uniquely different, you soon come to realize after conversing with them that every one of them is drawn to the allure and unknown of adventuring abroad. Professionally, I think that studying abroad is even more so an integral part of a college student’s experience today than in the past as the globalized world moves towards countries and their economies becoming closer towards and more interdependent on each other. However, personally, I think studying abroad satisfies one’s curiosities about the world and sense of adventure just enough to instill them with a lifelong desire for more.

    Of course everyone’s study abroad experience is unique and I cannot speak for anyone else, which leads me to my question. In recent years, it seems a larger emphasis is being placed on studying abroad in Asia, particularly China. Why do you think that the encouragement to study abroad has shifted from more traditional places such as Western Europe to Asia and what different experiences do you hope for students to gain?

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