When asking college graduates to explain the most impactful experience they had in college, most of them say…..studying abroad. When asked what they most regret? Most graduates answer……not studying abroad. Needless to say, going to another country for the purpose of studying and really getting to know the culture is a life changing event for many.
For me, it was a life changing experience. During my undergraduate in Germany, I went to California for an internship for 3 months. I lived with 2 male roommates and a dog in a little house in Mountain View and managed my way to work with a bike I had borrowed for 2 months from the Stanford campus. I learned about the Californian culture (for example, that California Mexican food is different from real Mexican food), got immersed in the mesmerizing city of San Francisco, and made friends that I have to this day. In fact, one friend that I made up there even came to my wedding this year.
My comfort zone was pushed many times during this trip, especially in relation to my own self-concept and managing to live in and contribute meaningfully to a foreign culture. What I enjoyed the most, was that I was able to explore my identity in complete new ways. Back home I had so many roles to fulfill: Being the “best” friend, the big sister, the daughter, the student. In my time abroad, I could explore who I am without those roles. What I truly value, what my personality traits are, what makes me uncomfortable and what makes me thrive.
I came back home with a complete new identity. More open to others, more confident, and I dare to say—wiser. I would not be where I am at today without my time abroad and I wish everyone would have this opportunity.
I know, I was lucky to score this international internship and had supportive parents that provided me with the necessary funds to engage in this adventure. Living in California for 3 months even 13 years ago was not cheap! But if there would have been a cheaper and less time consuming option, I would have totally gone for that too.
This is why I am SO glad to be part of the Interterm Travel Course to Costa Rica that we are offering during Interterm next year (January, 2019). The School of Communication has been offering this travel course for a couple of semesters now and I am stepping in for Dr. LaBelle this year to lead the course, together with Dr. Leitz from the Department of Peace Studies. Together we will lead this dynamic Travel Course to Costa Rica from January 9 – January 21, 2019. This course will take students to Costa Rica to analyze the communication strategies of various organizations that pursue peace and social justice, situating this communication within the specific history and culture of the area. Emphasizing real world examples of peace communication practice, the course provides a chance to analyze these through the lens of research and theory from communication studies and peace studies.
And yes, we also will see crocodiles, monkeys and the beach!
Going to another country for the purpose of studying and really getting to know the culture is a life changing event for many. This is your opportunity.
The price for this trip is much more affordable then going abroad for a whole semester (not even thinking of all the stress of subleasing your room/apartment and all of that) AND you can count it toward your SCC major or your General Inquiry Requirement.
Check out this link for further information and join us at the Study Abroad Fair on Monday, Sept. 17 from 10-2pm at the Piazza.