Ask anybody who has studied abroad and they’ll tell you to “just do it!” Students’ reasons for studying abroad are as diverse as majors offered in CALS, and the opportunities available to CALS students are just as vast. We hear time and time again from returning students, “studying abroad changed my life.” How can something as nebulous as “study abroad” universally be so “life changing”? Consider some of the things students experience abroad:
- Exposure to a new culture that goes deeper than just differences in food, appearances, personal habits, and language. Students get to learn about other peoples’ belief systems and viewpoints—learning first-hand about the differences and similarities between another culture and your own.
- An opportunity to travel. Depending on the study abroad location, students have the opportunity to travel independently on weekends and during academic breaks, or with some of the more structured programs, field trips may be integrated into the courses. Either way, you’ll have an opportunity to visit places you’ve may have never dreamed possible.
- A new network of friends from all over the world and the U.S. Students who integrate themselves into a foreign university find that they return home with international friends from all over the world. Not only do students get to experience the culture of their host country, but they get to learn about and from people from other cultures as well.
- Uncertainty and new experiences. That may sound scary, and at first it may be, but it is also very exciting. Rest assured the skills you will develop to address the “unknown” will have you returning to the U.S. with a whole new highly marketable skill set, including: increased flexibility and adaptability, maturity, independence, enhanced problem-solving capabilities, cross-cultural competency, and more.
Studying abroad is more affordable that you might think. In fact, in some cases, studying abroad can cost less than staying in Ithaca for a semester! And the good news? For students who have financial aid and scholarships, your financial aid package is adjusted based on the estimated costs of being abroad, and it travels with you!
Whether you’re simply exploring the idea of studying abroad or already know where you want to go, there are many resources available to help move you in the right direction.