OPINION: Study abroad provides opportunities to learn, grow



Going abroad for school can help learn a language, or just provide a new perspective of the world.

ELENA PERRY, Evergreen columnist

Junior Emma Mason spent months preparing to leave her family, friends and country. She was filling out applications and doing interviews, ready to leave her Scottish hometown to study abroad in the U.S.

She was excited for all the opportunities WSU had to offer, both intellectually and socially. Despite her eagerness to begin her semester, she had been denying the reality of leaving her home until right before she left her family at the airport.

“It was when I turned away from [my parents] at security that I burst into tears and was like ‘Oh my God I’m going to America,’” Mason said. “It all hit me at once.”

Because of the countless benefits to studying abroad, students all over the world should seriously consider studying in another country.

Traveling in an educational setting can provide students cultural experiences and unique learning opportunities, as well as chances to network and befriend people from all over the globe.

One obvious benefit to studying abroad is the cultural experience one can gain, regardless of where a student travels — Canada, India or anywhere in between. Staying in another part of the world can introduce new foods, fashions and language.

For Mason, American slang is one of the biggest culture shocks she has encountered.

“I have had to adapt in the way I speak since coming here,” Mason said. “For example, I asked my roommate about her hoover, a vacuum cleaner, and she had no idea what I was talking about.”

Studying abroad can also offer a more diverse set of classes and, depending on the program, can often be more specialized to an area of interest. Additionally, it can help students hone foreign language skills.

Speaking multiple languages is an invaluable skill that has the potential to advance your professional and social life, and learning a language where it is native is the best way to learn or improve skills gained in the classroom.

The potential to make new friends and connections is also possible through these programs. You gain the opportunity to network in parts of the globe you may have never visited otherwise.

There are a variety of study abroad programs offered at WSU, including different areas of study, geographic locations, times of year. Programs are offered anywhere from two weeks to several months abroad, so there is an option for everyone interested.

Study abroad provides several unique opportunities you will not find taking classes in the U.S. Every student should consider studying to advance their education, social life and professional career.