By Khalid Khalid, Peer for Career
Along with being active on and off campus, another great way to truly step out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons is to study abroad. From the moment of your arrival to your host country, almost every interaction becomes a learning opportunity.
Regardless of where in the world you decide to study abroad, there are many amazing new things to discover, learn and explore. Take, for example, a great, advanced nation like Germany. As a historical landmark, you will have first-hand insight and expand your knowledge of the country by physically being there, seeing it and walking around its beautiful streets and astonishing museums. Immersing yourself in the German culture, speaking to locals, and interacting with them on a daily basis will not only sharpen your ability to see the world from a different perspective but also help you understand yourself and the importance of keeping your own traditions. Too often, just reading about another culture in textbooks or hearing about it from others is not enough to fully understand it.
Additionally, attending a study abroad program at a host university could be another great way to explore other countries’ educational systems. For instance, studying at a German institution of higher education is somewhat different from what we are accustomed to in the United States. All levels of education are nearly free-of-cost and many universities also offer “Corporate Programs.” A Corporate Program involves sponsorship by real world firms such as IBM, Bayer or Biomet who fund students while also offering them opportunities for practical work during school breaks and summer vacations. As an international student, you will have the chance to learn from excellent German instructors who teach real world applications as well as from classmates who have been working with companies for years.
Once you have lived in a host country for a few months, you start building networks and making connections with students from all over the world. As the saying goes, “You never know who the person sitting next to you is going to be.” Whether it’s a classmate, instructor or your dorm-mate, the relationships you form while studying abroad might well be some of the most valuable relationships you will ever make. Even though this might be true anywhere, studying abroad especially brings long-lasting relationships that can pay in the future in different ways.
Believe it or not, by immersing yourself in unfamiliar culture, experimenting with new ways of thinking, or trying a different way of living, you will experience some sort of personal growth and mostly likely come back home with a renewed interest in the world and newfound knowledge. Although living in a foreign country can be overwhelming at times, it can definitely put into motion significant personal development. So here is some advice: take a risk, further the great education you receive here at Baruch and be better prepared to face challenges in the future!
Photo credit: Khalid Khalid, September 2015