Studying Abroad (The Lyre Spring 2010)

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An International Outlook for Your Future by Kristina Wegscheider (Pi, University of California-Berkeley).

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Studying Abroad (The Lyre Spring 2010)

  1. 1. On Campus Studying by Kristina Wegscheider, Π (University of California-Berkeley) S Studying abroad in college is truly a will leave you counting every last penny. certain academic theme and the professors once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The experi- There are programs that may cost as much travel alongside the students within the ences, the camaraderie and the academics as, if not less than, your university’s per country or particular region. The shortest are just some of the unforgettable aspects. term tuition. Even if you do spend more travel study session is usually one to two While the notion of studying abroad is studying abroad, the unique and exciting weeks and can be a great introduction to the exciting, the process of choosing the right experiences are truly priceless. After all, world of both traveling and studying abroad. program based on cost and academics, authentic cultural experiences cannot amongst other reasons, may be intimidat- be bought—they are felt first-hand. To When to Go? ing. Rest assured, taking the help offset costs, consider applying for Once you have embraced the idea of time to thoroughly plan scholarships or securing a student loan. studying abroad, your trip’s timing is the and prepare for a trip By planning your journey early, the next order of business. Students typically will be rewarding— income from a part-time or summer study abroad their junior year of college, studying abroad will job can help with the day-to-day but you can easily do this during your change your life. expenses you will incur while abroad. sophomore and senior years if you plan With regards to time, think of all accordingly. This is why it is so important Hesitations the options you can pursue that can to embrace the idea of studying abroad Many people have hesita- fit to your schedule: year-long, one early in your college career. By doing this, tions about traveling, semester/quarter, summer break, you will allow yourself to create a plan to usually with regards to winter break and even spring break. balance your home university’s workload the financial and time Besides the traditional school year with the classes you will take abroad. Keep notions. While most programs, some schools offer in mind that certain classes for your major college students do summer programs or travel may only be offered during certain terms. not have deep study opportunities which Taking this into consideration will help pockets, not all tend to be lower cost and keep your graduation date on schedule. study abroad of a shorter duration. programs Travel study programs Choosing a Program are unique in the sense Now that a timeframe and class schedule that they focus on a have been established, the fun part can start— selecting a program! Your first inquiry should be with your university’s study abroad office, as they will offer
  2. 2. Abroad: An International Outlook for Your Future programs that are either affiliated with ied abroad with the Inter-University Program you may even be in a country where you or are pre-screened by the school. This (IUP) at Tsinghua University in Beijing, do not know anyone. It is all a part of will make transferring units back to China. When Amy selected her program, the adventure! your home university guaranteed and she specifically wanted a full immersion Depending on your geographical hassle-free. When looking at various program that would allow her to improve location, you may suddenly find that other programs, consider the following: her Mandarin language skills and also countries are just a stone’s throw away and 1) Cost experience the culture first-hand. are much different than most places in the 2) Language requirements Before choosing classes in the preced- United States. If you opt for Europe, you 3) Available courses ing term(s), be sure to thoroughly look at can hop on the easy-to-use EuroRail railway With regards to cost, you may be what courses are available and if they will network to experience another country for surprised to learn that many study abroad transfer back to your home university. If the weekend with your new friends. If you programs are actually cheaper than the you find a program that is not affiliated are mostly isolated, like in Australia or Japan, regular tuition and fees from your home with your school, make an appointment try exploring the lesser-known regions of university. Be sure to closely examine with your academic advisor and bring as the country or budget for one journey dur- what is included and also factor in other much info about the program (course ing your study abroad program that will costs, if applicable (like housing, transporta- description, school information, etc.) so require a short flight. In most countries, tion, meals, social activities and weekend a judgment can be made as to whether or domestic airfare can be quite inexpensive, excursions). For many countries, you will not the units will transfer in the long run. especially in Europe. need to obtain a student visa, which will For those in organized programs, you incur additional fees. During Your Program may find that there are activities and excur- While most schools offer classes in Once you have selected a program, you sions arranged for you! Alpha Chi Gillian English in non-English speaking countries, can begin to prepare for one of the most Clow (Π) studied at the Universitat Pompeu you may find that some programs require amazing experiences of your life. This a certain level of language proficiency. may be the first time you are away Again, this is why planning ahead is so from friends and family, and helpful. You can take a foreign language class during your first year or two and be ready to put newly-acquired foreign language skills to good use while abroad. Alpha Chi collegian Amy Qin (Π) did this when she stud-
  3. 3. On Campus Fabra in Barcelona, appealing with your knowledge of concepts income. Whether it is teaching English Spain with International outside of your hometown. Additional travel in Japan or joining the Peace Corps and Studies Abroad (ISA). can also appear as you become a seasoned venturing to a remote nation, the chance She opted for a homes- professional. After establishing yourself with to immerse yourself in another culture tay with a local family a local firm, there are occasionally opportuni- can be invaluable and having funding to during her time abroad but ties to do an “ex-pat” assignment where you subsidize the cost can make it a more feasi- still was able to take advantage work from your company’s office in another ble opportunity for many. This experience of the built-in events that ISA country for a set duration. can help open new doors for networking offered, like roller-blading Some students fall in love with the con- and can add incredible experience to your around the city for Carnaval cept of living abroad and decide to continue employment history. and heading out to the coastal town of the adventure post-graduation by pursuing Another benefit of being abroad is the Sitges for a long weekend. graduate school or working abroad. By opportunity to either pick-up a new language continuing your studies abroad, you can or to perfect your skills. By challenging your- Impact on Future begin to build a foundation for years ahead. self to some introductory courses at your When you return from your time Take Alpha Chi Omega alumna Anna home campus, you can use your newfound abroad, you will come home with lots Heimbichner (Π), who spent a year abroad knowledge in a practical setting and, hopefully, of souvenirs, new friends and amazing studying history at Oxford University in become fluent. This fluency translates to an memories. But you will also bring back England, as an example. Anna fell in love invaluable asset to your professional career the experience of living abroad, which can with the city and upon graduation, com- and future traveling. Employers value, and help in a variety of ways as you assimilate pleted a Master’s degree in International often pay extra, for employees who possess back into your regular schedule. In the Relations from Oxford. She then continued foreign language skills relevant to their short-term, you may find yourself looking her studies to obtain a law degree. Her law occupation as it eliminates the need for the at the world with a new perspective and firm employment begins next year, but employer to use outside consultants or ven- may suddenly discover local restaurants in the interim, Anna has been doing non- dors. Even if foreign language skills are not a and shops you never knew existed before, profit legal work in Johannesburg, South part of the job requirements, it is still impor- as they remind you of your time abroad. Africa, escaping to neighboring African tant to highlight as it can help differentiate In the long-term, studying abroad is nations for short jaunts to take advantage you from other candidates. an insightful experience to put on your of the proximity. Anna noted that “one Studying abroad is an incredible résumé. As you approach your senior year experience has led to another” starting opportunity that will help you now and in college and begin applying for jobs, the with her time at Oxford and continuing on in your long-term future. Exposure to other experience from spending time abroad with the adventures that are in her future. cultures, languages and places early in life can assist you with catching an employer’s Others opt to find employment abroad creates a lifetime of interest and intrigue attention. If you apply to a multi-national immediately following school which is a in travel. So, get started planning your corporation, you will be all the more great chance to see the world while earning trip abroad today! Your decision to study abroad can be a bit con- • What did your Alpha Chi sisters like or dislike about fusing and overwhelming, so do not make it lightly. studying abroad? Ask your sisters about their experi- Research and planning are keys to your success. The ences abroad and factor in that information. following are just a few places to start your search: • Search the web for programs, and always be sure to • Consult the study abroad office, career center or your thoroughly research a program before applying or academic advisor at your school for initial leads on sending a deposit. Programs should be affiliated with program recommendations. an accredited university. Ask to speak with previous program participants for first-hand information. 26 Spring 2010 ❘❘ The Lyre

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