Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Study Abroad An Important Part Of Education

Welcome back to school!  Many high school students have already been in school and most colleges started classes yesterday.  It can be a very exciting and overwhelming time for young adults.  Deciding what courses you want to take, what organizations you want to be a part of , and I hope, deciding when and where to take a study abroad opportunity. 

Learning about the world around you is a major part of character development.  Not to mention it is a very attractive skillset to be able to highlight on your resume!  Various studies show that students who have studied abroad find employment more regularly and earn higher salaries than their peers who stayed in the US throughout college.  (Source: http://studyabroad.ucmerced.edu/study-abroad-statistics/statistics-study-abroad#resources)

Visit with your high school counselor or your college advisor on when would be a good time to add a study abroad to your course plan.  It could be a semester away or maybe even a mini-mester trip sandwiched between full semesters.  Once you know when is the best time to go, opportunities open up for you through academic offerings as well as civic organizations.  Chances to travel with 4H, Sister Cities organizations, Rotary Clubs and maybe even a senior class trip are great ways to get started in finding your love for world travel.
BCS Sister Cities touring Germany in 2010.

I would love to hear your stories of Study Abroad and how you found this calling.  Please share in comments!

Another great first step is to take the opportunities to learn about cultures in and around your own community.  You might have a classmate from India and learn about their country and culture and decide that is a place you want to visit.  Or maybe you take it a step further and attend events and meetings held by the Mexican Student Association or other "country clubs".    You can learn so much right here in your hometown if you look around with new lenses!  Take the opportunities that are available!

Get your PASSPORT!  Passports are good for 10 years.  Since they can take up to 6 weeks in some cases to process, get it now and have it on hand ready when the opportunity arises.  If you are local in the Bryan/College Station area, the study abroad office at Texas A&M University has a passport processing office.  Visit https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html to find out what forms and id you must have to apply for a passport.  The fee starts at $80, but additional fees apply if you need it expedited.

And of course, Brazos Valley Worldfest is an ideal event to learn about countries around the world, practice your foreign languages and make connections that could grow into so much more. 

Make Brazos Valley Worldfest your FIRST study abroad experience!  Attend or consider volunteering for the festival this year on November 4 and 5, 2016.  With 70+ countries represented at the festival through culture displays, performances, food and arts and crafts, Brazos Valley Worldfest is an ideal way to learn about multiple countries in one day.  Not only that, but you have the chance to visit with people from those countries and get a unique perspective on their country. 
Students in Russia.

Check out the festival website over the next few months to find out which countries/cultures will be participating.  www.brazosvalleyworldfest.org

If you are ready to start planning your college study abroad now, visit www.Studyabroad.tamu.edu

TAMU Study Abroad Center in Costa Rica