Enrich Your Education by Studying Abroad

Changing of the guards

Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, London

By Rachel Carruth

Discover breathtaking landscapes, see priceless works of art and expand your horizons by studying in a foreign country.

“Life is incredibly rich and most of us only know a very limited range of experiences. We all tend to see life from inside the box of our cultures, but there is real sweetness… that can be found everywhere,” said Dr. Joshua Levin, a professor in the Department of Human Behavior at the College of Southern Nevada.

Studying abroad can help students understand the changing world by enhancing their global perspectives.

“You’ll find yourself and you’ll appreciate the little things in life,” said CSN student Nicky Banda, when asked how she felt about the year that she studied abroad in Italy.

By enhancing global awareness, college students from all over have an opportunity to play a key role in building a brighter global community for all.

According to the American Association of Community Colleges’ website, the power of studying abroad goes far beyond course-specific education to include a global understanding of how we are all connected. It can be an amazing opportunity for cultural exposure, bound to shape students’ lives.

“I realized I couldn’t be a little girl anymore; it made me grow up,” Banda said.

There are several study abroad programs that can guild students through the process. These programs pride themselves on helping students find the right program, the right country, obtaining student visas, arranging flights and housing, and supporting students throughout the entire process. These unique study abroad programs are able to provide an authentic context in which all students may grow into engaged citizens of the world.

University Studies Abroad Consortium, a non-profit organization, links universities with 41 programs in 26 countries including: France, New Zealand, Brazil and China. Students from any college or university who meet the requirements can apply to study abroad with USAC. Currently, 4,000 community college students study abroad each year, according to USAC.

“Do it. It’s easier than you think!” Levin said.

Another program option is offered by the American Institute for Foreign Study. Approximately 1.5 million students have studied abroad with this unique all- inclusive program which, includes: housing, meal plans and round-trip airfares.

Sea/mester, a semester- at-sea program, provides educational experiences for students as they combine formal academics with adventures on the open seas. Students can study oceanography, marine biology, and nautical sciences. The ships pull into ports in countries all over the world, providing a diverse cultural experience for students.

“By traveling, we discover that our assumptions are often wrong and almost always shallow,” Levin says. “Study abroad provides opportunities to make more involved and enduring connections.”

There are various scholarships available for students who study abroad. The website studyabroad.com lists nearly 90 scholarships. Obtaining financial aid is time-sensitive process so, start applying early.

Around 50 percent of students use financial-aid packages to supplement the costs of studying abroad.

“My students are not only my inspiration, but my faith in the future…I love to hear about their aspirations and their dreams. Their creativity, their zest for life, their hope for a better future is so rewarding and fulfilling for me,” said Maria Roa, a Spanish professor at CSN.

Adjusting to and living in another culture can be exhilarating and intellectually stimulating. Adapting to a different set of norms can also have its frustrations as well.

“Be flexible and go with an open mind. You will find many things that are different from what you are used to,” Roa recently said.

“I’m inspired by people who have the courage to genuinely find and follow their heart. Who don’t let the many pressures of society keep them from achieving their dreams. They are people who follow their passions and are compassionate and loving in the world,” Dr. Levin said.

College students who choose to study abroad can also gain matchless insights into international politics, economics and planetary environmental preservation efforts which, can certainly help to shape the future.

“I believe that it is crucial for students living and learning at the beginning of the twenty-first century to further their education in cultural awareness…In my opinion, it is to our advantage to keep up with the needs of this expanding world, and to take into consideration the major role that other countries play in our lives,” Roa said.

For further information on the steps to start your own journey of studying abroad, visit: www.usac.unr.edu , www.aifsabroad.com or www.seamester.com.

“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life and travel, leaves marks on you. Most of them, those marks on your body or on your heart, are beautiful.”-Anthony Bourdain.

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