Thursday, September 27, 2012

Study Abroad - A Student's Perspective

Last spring Chase Staub, a senior intern in our office, participated in one of the many Study Abroad programs UGA has to offer.   Read below to learn about his experience:

"This past May, I had the opportunity to go on one of UGA’s Study Abroad programs to Croatia. I traveled to this small, transitional country in Eastern Europe to study global public health and heritage conservation.

I am preparing for a career in the health sciences, so this trip was an excellent opportunity to explore my field in depth. I not only gained a richer understanding of the topic, I was also able to gain experience in different health professions to help decide my future career path.

We traveled the country tackling challenging health concerns for various areas, such as national parks, tourist destinations, islands, and remote areas. This allowed me to experience the entirety of Croatia while also gaining valuable information about each location. For example, I learned about public safety issues while touring one of the world’s most beautiful natural parks, Plitvice Lakes. I also learned about the concept of identity conservation while visiting cities impacted by war and talking to the survivors of their history’s great battles. Every day was a new area with new topics, such as going to the US Embassy, health institutes, hospitals, government agencies, and world heritage sites. The creative and innovative approaches to education were endless.

Studying abroad is one of the best experiences you can have during your time in college. Students can take the knowledge they learned in the classroom and apply it literally around the world. Education comes to life during these trips, because students are not reading a textbook or listening to a lecture, but they are traveling directly to the sites and hearing first hand from the primary sources.  Students have the chance to work with top professionals from many different fields of study, such as government employees, researchers, field specialists, and educators, providing multiple perspectives on a topic and a holistic understanding.  All the while, students are submerged into a different culture, being exposed to the region’s language(s), history, heritage, food, songs and traditions. The personal enrichment I gained by being immersed in a different cultures was invaluable.

Countries around the world are becoming increasingly interdependent.  Our globe is shrinking and populations are growing.  UGA has seen the importance of preparing students to enter this global community and now has study abroad programs traveling to over 100 countries and on all 7 continents. The skills and experiences one gains abroad are among the most beneficial for a student’s chosen career and academic endeavors. But one of the greatest challenges facing students entering college is choosing their path—what to study and what career they would enjoy. Studying abroad is a great immersion option for trying out  majors and career options first hand. Many students return with confirmation for their interests in a career or discover a passion for a new field. "


To learn more about Study Abroad opportunities available at The University of Georgia, visit the Office of International Education online here.

Go Dawgs!

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