- Posted March 18, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Why study abroad? Ask Michelle Obama
Whoever you are, study abroad!
The experience abroad is totally worth the money. International experience, particularly studying abroad, is of innumeral value. You cannot put a dollar or peso or euro amount to an experience you achieve abroad because it is not an experience you can get staying here in the United States. The people you meet, the sights you see, the culture you live through, what you develop as a person is nothing you can experience just staying in your own national bubble. Of course, a great diversity exists within the U.S. itself, but there is so much more in this world to experience and it's a blast being able to live through international diversity first hand.
Does studying abroad cost money? Certainly it does, and a lot of it. But like I said, it's worth it. Financial concerns should NOT, absolutely NOT be constraints to studying abroad. There are so many ways to fund an international experience which include scholarships (and trust me, there are several out there), grants, loans, and sponsorships. When you pick a program, choose which one is most reasonable but also meets your goals. Don't let the costs keep you from studying abroad.
There are so ways to experience something internationally. You can study abroad at a school as a student, you can intern and gain work experience, you can volunteer and serve in a community. You can conduct research or complete a project. You don't have to be a foreign exchange student. That's not the only way to be in an international setting. Also, the terms of international experiences vary. They can be as short as a 1-week academic or service trip or you can study and research over the course of 3 or more years! The possibilities, the opportunities are endless, and I believe everyone should take advantage of these opportunities.
People worry about the classes they would take or what language they would have to speak or not graduating on time. These should not be hindrances to going to another country. As far as studying abroad, most institutions will find ways to credit any international coursework or project to your home institution. Obviously foreign languages will transfer, but mathematics, literature, culture, leadership, basic science, and, among others, physical education courses can transfer too. At the least, you can earn elective credit. The key is to work with your advisors as soon as possible to figure out the right program and classes to take.
If you cannot speak another language, all you know is English, you can't even understand people's different accents from other parts of the U.S., no problem! There are a lot of English-speaking countries and even English programs in other foreign countries. Some programs require a minimum language proficiency, but many have no requirement and you'll be completely fine on the trip without knowing another language.
Worst three reasons to NOT study abroad: 1. Costs too much. 2. You can't speak another language. 3. It will delay my graduation. Terrible reasons to study abroad because you can completely get around those.
Delaying graduation. First of all, most freshman do not graduate quote unquote "on time". Studying abroad will earn you some college credits, often some credits you cannot earn unless you study abroad. Also, studying abroad looks fantastic on a resume or essay and makes you stand out considerably from your peers. It will give you an advantage over the 99% of students who do not do anything abroad for your job or graduate school or scholarship application. Again, the time and money put towards studying abroad is worth it.
I cannot even start to explain what I learned abroad; there were so many fulfulling and inspiring experiences. Studying abroad was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I strongly encourage everyone to endeavor an international experience.