Study Abroad: an interesting alternative to higher education

Left to right back row: Aly Zingelmann, Maranda Westbrook, Reagan Witten, Ellie Ratliff, Evhrett White, Elizabeth Franklin, Amy Lucas, Grace John.
Middle Row: Lexie Clemons, Tiffany Hinojosa, Maddie Hammack, Beefeater Guard/Yeoman Guardsman, Dr. Kelly Rigott, Amarys Dean, Taelyn Shelton.
Front Row: Hannah Taake, Ashley Burnett, Katrina Sie.
Photo By Dr. Laura Bedwell.

“Global learning, whether it occurs in local communities or abroad, provides an array of skills and experiences that follow students throughout their civic and professional lives.” This is what the Association of American Colleges & Universities concluded after extensive research into the effects of travel abroad programs have on a wide variety of college students in the 2017 academic year. They also noted on their site that despite the clear advantages that such programs have on student’s academic and professional careers’ only 1.5% of

US college students partake in study abroad.

Many students in the United States are concerned with the supposed ‘downsides’ to partaking in study abroad programs. However, some students had no problems with any downsides that may plague some students. UMHB student Maya Wiemokly found none.

“I was fortunate enough to hear about the London study abroad program early in my time at UMHB, “Wiemokly said, “so I planned ahead to make it possible. I saved some basic and pre-requisite courses that I knew were more likely to be offered in London.”

Students in the United States are not the only ones that are able to partake in the study abroad program unhindered. Nick Van Riel, a communication major at the University of Amsterdam stated when asked about his travel abroad program.

“There is already a semester scheduled in our programs to do study abroad programs. This means, as long as I will pass my courses in Melbourne, I will be fully on schedule for my graduation.”

The statement that study abroad programs will delay a student’s graduation date is also rebutted by NAFSA, which is a nonprofit organization connecting international teaching communities. They stated on their website: “Far from the fears that studying abroad will delay a student’s graduation, multiple large-scale studies have found that students who study abroad, especially underrepresented or “at-risk” students, are more likely to complete their degrees or certificate programs than students who did not study abroad.”

The pros of study abroad programs appear to outweigh the cons. The everlasting bonds and life-changing experiences that are created by these programs can be summed up by Wiemokly.

“I had never left the country before studying abroad in London and it was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Traveling allowed me to experience other cultures and recognize how BIG the world really is.” Wiemokly said.

“The group that went with me to London quickly became my family. I still talk with some of the UMHB students weekly. Even those who do not go to UMHB or live near Belton still make an effort to meet up every few months.”

With the many different benefits that come with study abroad programs, it is clear to see why so many schools are sponsoring such programs. For more information about the Study Abroad programs at UMHB go to https://go.umhb.edu/academics/studyabroad/upcoming.

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