Studying abroad is something most students have considered in their academic career, but is it right for you?
“Well, besides broadening your horizons, studying abroad allows students the opportunity to explore new countries and cultures while earning ISU academic credit,” Alex Ratcliff, study abroad advisor, said.
Those who study abroad typically gain confidence, communication skills and make themselves stand out to future employers, Ratcliff added.
“Study Abroad has about 20 different programs to choose from and they are actually cheaper than being here at ISU,” she said.
She said although she may be biased, in this global economy there are no downsides to studying abroad.
There are some ways to know if you are a good fit for studying abroad.
“We typically recommend that students study abroad their sophomore year before they are locked into curriculum. General education classes are a bit easier to find and more fun to take as students are immersing themselves in a new culture,” Ratcliff said.
A good study abroad candidate is someone with an open mind, she added.
“I studied abroad in Rome, Italy during the spring of 2013. It was my junior year at ISU,” Samantha Seecharan, senior marketing major, said.
Seecharan explained she was also able to visit Ireland, Switzerland, England, France and all of Italy while studying abroad.
“It was easy to plan weekend trips to different countries or cities. Planning in advance is the key though, because then you can get cheaper prices for transportation and hostels,” she said.
Seecharan said her two favorite memories from her study abroad semester were skydiving in Switzerland out of a helicopter over the Swiss Alps and a weekend trip to Southern Italy.
“My friends and I stopped in Naples before traveling on and we went to a pizza place called Da Michele. It is actually the pizza place that Julia Roberts goes to with her friend in the movie “Eat, Pray, Love,” and it is the most amazing pizza you will ever taste,” she said.
Seecharan explained her only semi-negative experience from her trip was the language barrier, which was a minor aspect.
She absolutely recommends to anyone with the opportunity to face their fears and study abroad.
“Remember your experience is what you make it. Being open minded is crucial, and remember your time will fly by,” she added.
Study Abroad has just started offering First Step Sessions twice a week at 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and at 11 a.m. on Fridays in Fell Hall Room 116. There is no registration needed.
“Just show up and learn about how to get started,” Ratcliff said.
Anyone thinking about studying abroad or that has any questions in general is advised to call the Study Abroad Office at (309) 438-5276.
“My study abroad experience was life-changing and will have an everlasting impact on everything I do in my life,” Seecharan added.