Study Abroad Options Are Endless, Worthwhile

Just before the semester began, Ramapo College students left to study abroad in India. In just a month or so, some more Ramapo College students will be spending their spring break in Shanghai and Beijing, China.

Study abroad is a sought after opportunity for many students, not only in Ramapo College, but in every college and university in the United States. From Asia and Europe, to Latin America, students travel abroad for experiences and lessons that they cannot usually find in their classrooms. Your experiences, as well as the lessons you have learned elsewhere, really do matter for both your professional and personal growth. There are many positive reasons to study abroad.

“I learned a lot about how to be flexible and to be more independent,” says Emily Moore, who studied in the University of Hawaii with the National Student Exchange Program.

Study abroad makes students more marketable for jobs, internships and graduate schools. Students are apt to learn new languages or improve on a foreign language they may already know. Knowing a second language such as Spanish, French, German or another language would certainly look good on a resume.

Study abroad not only enhances our marketability, but it also expands our cultural knowledge and understanding. It expands our professional network all while giving students the time of their lives. For example, students’ experiences from study abroad are great conversation starters while networking with others or even interviewing for a dream job.

Study abroad trains us to be more globally literate in our interactions and in our responses to others. It also enhances our intercultural communication skills. The more we learn and understand different cultures, the more we are able to understand diversity because we are more empathetic about people from other cultures.

Gisselle Arce, who studied in Seville, Spain, said that she “learned to be open to new cultures and adventures and to be extroverted, self-confident and reliant.”

Being immersed in other cultures as well as traveling also gives us the sense of responsibility and simplicity. Students not only expand their professional experiences and networks, but they also start to get to know themselves more.

“I learned to live a simpler life and learned how to appreciate moments more than objects,” said Paula Valencia, who studied abroad in Florianopolis, Brazil.

If you ever get to study abroad, most students will advise you to keep an open mind and immerse yourself with the culture. You can try some new food, practice foreign language skills, interact and interview someone you meet, live at a host home with a family from your host country, or explore the sights and landmarks. Always remember that you might also be meeting students from other nations who are studying abroad where you are.  

Julia Clinton, who studied abroad in Cambridge, U.K. said, “I talked to people from the U.K., but also people from Macau, Egypt, China, and India. I still keep in touch with a few of them.”

Having these networks is always great. Imagine going to these countries and knowing that there is someone there who you can reach out to.

“Do not be afraid of studying abroad, it can seem daunting but there are so many resources at Ramapo that can help you,” says Moore. Ramapo College has study abroad trips to Sierra Leone, China, South India, England, Argentina and more.

Visit the Roukema Center for International Education in ASB123 and see what options they have for you. They will help you take your first steps into something that promises to be one of the highlights of your college career. Ultimately, the possibilities are endless and the destinations are worth your time and effort.