“Study abroad is the best experience I have in Penn State. If I were to choose again, I would go every semester if possible.” Tim, recent graduate from Penn State told me.
Study abroad is one of the most popular and welcomed programs at Penn State. Students can choose various study abroad programs: they can go to nearly any country in the world to explore its culture and earn some credits for their degrees along the way.
I personally did not have the opportunity to study abroad because of the heavy workload for double majors, however, I have invited two students to talk about their preparation, experience, and thoughts about study abroad.Eileen, a senior majoring in Finance and minoring in French, is going to Paris next summer to complete her French minor. Tim, recent Penn State alum, studies in Oxford University for one semester in his Junior year.
Why did you choose to study abroad?
Tim: I was looking for a good study abroad program since I was freshman. Besides of learning different cultures, I also wanted to gain a broader perceptions of what the world is and how students in other countries learn and study. I chose Oxford University not only because I have been long for its long history in education but also because I want to know how England and U.S. differ in their education systems.
What benefits do you think you can gain from Study Abroad?
Eileen: From my perspective, the biggest benefit is to improve my French. Imagine I will be studying in Paris for 2 months, and I can talk to the local and also learn from them. According to students who went last year, we can live with the local family, so it is an awesome opportunity for me to learn about French culture. What’s more, since I already know 2 languages, if I could become proficient in the third language, that would bring me competent!
Why should prospective students consider studying abroad?
Eileen: It is a great opportunity! If you ever had such opportunity, don’t hesitate and grab it! You get to learn things that you could never learn in the U.S. Personally speaking, benefit outweighs costs.
Tim: Most importantly, you can make friends with students from all over the world. You came for different reasons but share a lot of similarities. I cherish my experience and friends I made in Oxford University. If I were to choose again, I might go for a whole academic year, instead of going just one semester, which was too short. Actually, I am planning to go again next year to attend their graduation.
Do you have any suggestions for students who plan/want/not sure about Study Abroad?
Eileen: If you have the thought of studying abroad, even just a little, you should go see an adviser. Another suggestion is to prepare beforehand: weather, food, transportation, etc., so that you can use the weekends to travel to nearby countries, such as Germany and Switzerland.
Tim: Don’t hesitate if you do. Study abroad is the best experience I have in Penn State. The only thing I regret is not going to Oxford University for a whole year but only a semester. It is the once in a life experience.
Penn State Global Programs offers more than 300 study abroad programs to students in a variety of majors. You do not need to be a language major to study abroad!
If you have a dream, go for it. Study abroad is a once in a life time experience. A lot of students who participated in the previous programs all come back with unforgettable and invaluable memory and a lifelong friends.