Many people have a bucket list. Some people want to skydive. Some want to ride in a hot air balloon. Others want to visit all 50 states.
One thing I have always wanted to do is take a trip to study abroad.
Now when I say study abroad, the image that comes to mind might be of an old favorite film or maybe of students enjoying a glamorous vacation in a foreign country. But while there is plenty to enjoy on a study abroad trip, it’s not at all just a vacation.
Study abroad programs give students the opportunity to learn more about the topic they’re studying in a different way than just in a classroom. These programs give students the chance to immerse themselves in a new culture and to build new friendships.
Study abroad trips provide students with a far more comprehensive experience than they would be able to get from online classes or even by attending classes at a local college for the summer.
For example, on literature trips, students don’t just learn about the works of authors and poets. Instead, students also explore these writers’ homes and cities as well as other places that would have inspired them and shaped their writing.
Part of the allure of a study abroad trip, at least for me, is that it’s a way to earn class credit over the summer. I had always thought that the trip alone was enough experience to be counted for credit.
Recently, though, I found out that students who are on the trip also have formal classes taught by the professor for credits. In the case of foreign language study tours, students are immersed in the target language for the duration of the trip.
Additionally, it gives students the chance to learn more about the people and culture of that area as well.
By studying in a different country, students have the opportunity to experience food, music and customs they may never have encountered before. I think that knowing about a person’s culture is a great way to open conversation with them, whether at home or abroad.
These conversations can open the way to witnessing opportunities or even new friendships.
Even though total immersion would be challenging, I hope to one day be able to go on a Spanish language study abroad tour to improve my speaking skills and learn more about different people around the world.