Monday, May 5, 2014

Study Abroad: Is It Your Thing?

Have you thought about studying abroad as part of your college experience?

Why would study in another country be of value to you?

  • It's the best way to learn a new language
  • Obviously, you're traveling to a new country....but you may travel to nearby countries as well
  • You will learn how people live in that country--their culture, their way of life
  • You gain new skills out of necessity and become self-sufficient
  • You will make new friends
  • You will learn about yourself
  • Travel abroad can enhance your resume and make employers want to hire you
  • It increases the value of your degree
           Using any of these cities as a starting point, look at the number of other places you can visit.

You will see how other countries are different and the same by living in them:
  • How does their money work?
  • How do they measure things---most European countries use the metric system.  
  • What does gasoline cost, and how do they travel?
  • What do they do for fun?
  • What is 'acceptable' behavior? Do they have rules of etiquette different than we are used to? (in some countries, you shouldn't touch someone as you speak to him, even just a tap on the arm)
  • How does their government work?
  • What is school like there?
  • Do they have different names for things, such as in England, chips are French fries, Crisps are what they call chips.
  • What are the foods eaten in that country?
  • What expressions do they use, and which do we use that they don't understand (like "deer in the headlights")
  • Once you've made some friends, they will want to know the same things about you and about America.

Study abroad is not only for language majors. It can include countries where English is commonly spoken, like:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • England
  • Scotland
  • Ireland
                                       University College, County Cork, Ireland

  • Netherlands
  • Denmark
                                                        Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Sweden
                                                            Swedish coastline                  
  • Norway
  • Iceland
  • Belize
  • Ghana
  • Malta
  • Cyprus
Many of these countries do have native languages (for example, Ireland has a history of Celtic language and customs), and it's always a good idea to know some key phrases in those languages; you'll probably learn it once you are living there.

What it's like:

Here are links to some blogs written by students who are  learning abroad:

Top 10 things to know about Denmark--a video blog from a Macalester student:

Also a student in Denmark: he's from Iowa and attends Yale:

Studying in Australia:

Various travel tips from a student:


How to investigate? Be sure you speak with someone in a college with a good reputation---don't just look up 'Study Abroad' online, because you may find a site that is not trustworthy. Check with your college to see what sort of program they have. Here are some to check out:

Mankato State University:

North Dakota State University:

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