“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness - all foes to real understanding. Likewise, tolerance or broad, wholesome charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in our little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” - Mark Twain
There are many good reasons to include studying or interning abroad in your plans. Here are some that we think are most important:
Think only students majoring in foreign languages study abroad? These days, everyone majors in Global, whether they study business, design, the arts, journalism, education, or the arts and sciences. People planning careers in any area can significantly benefit from study abroad. Just think about your interview at Global Company X, when you are asked about the range of your experience and training and whether you can interact with people from diverse backgrounds, and you get to say, “Well, I studied in India for a semester in college.” Epic win!
Students of all identities and backgrounds study abroad, and specialized information is available to address the specific questions of students from racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ students who want to study abroad. Ask the study abroad advisers in OIA for more information about making your dreams of education abroad come true. We are here to serve everyone on campus and would be very happy to talk with you about the options.
There are so many options these days. Just about anyone can fit study abroad into their academic plans. With over 170 programs in more than 90 countries, ranging from one week to an academic year, the UO offers something for students in any major, and you can choose from any region in the world. Credits earned in UO study abroad programs are considered ‘in-residence’ credits and, with good planning, can apply toward your degree requirements. With a little advance preparation, your week(s), term, semester, or year of study abroad can be tucked neatly into your overall plan, getting you to your degree just as quickly - and with the added benefit of an international experience.
Consider these simple facts: You get to use your regular financial aid (most scholarships, plus all grants, loans, and veteran’s bennies you usually get) toward the costs of any UO-sponsored study abroad program. There are also special scholarships and loans just for people who study abroad. Plus, total costs of participating in some programs (even airfare) at international universities that have direct exchange with the UO are about the same as costs for studying in Eugene (residents) or even less (non-residents). With these outstanding options and the lifelong benefits of studying or interning abroad, you can’t afford not to do it.
Many UO study abroad programs offer coursework taught in English. In addition, some programs include an intensive period of language training upon arrival in the host country. Some programs do require language training, however, so consult the individual program description or a study abroad adviser.
If you think studying abroad is a boost to your resume, try working in another country! Every employer wants to hire people who know how to interact with international colleagues or business partners, and what better way to prove that you have this skill, than to do it? Through Oregon’s unique IE3 Global Internship program (which stands for: International Education, Experience, and Employment), you can choose from about 140 established internship positions, in dozens of employment fields, in about 50 countries. Plus, you get internship credits for your IE3 experience, and you can use financial aid toward your international travel and living expenses. Getting that unique experience for your resume just got a lot easier!
Okay. Let’s admit that, generally speaking, students from the U.S. tend to be a little, well, sheltered. Studying or interning abroad while you’re in college is one of the best ways you can broaden your perspective of the world. In fact, many returnees (of all identity groups) talk about how much more they understand US cultures and their own sense of self-identity after being removed from those familiar contexts for an education abroad experience. You can gain more self-confidence and a wider sense of the many possibilities of human life. It’s a kind of learning you just can’t get in a classroom.
Are you an idealist who dreams of a more socially just society? Of course, any lasting social change must happen both locally and globally. And what better way to understand how folks in other countries are working to better their own societies than to go and witness for yourself their efforts for promoting peace, ending hunger and poverty, and making their social and cultural infrastructure sustainable? Several of the UO’s cooperating partners offer field-based opportunities. On programs with the School for International Training (SIT), for example, you can get hands-on experience in Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, or South or Central Asia. Or choose from several non-SIT programs that also focus on global issues. Once you can truly think globally, acting locally will come more naturally.
Not only will you be an ideal future employee after you study abroad; you’ll also be far more likely to have additional rewarding international experiences. The stats don’t lie: the UO, which has a high level of student participation in study abroad and internship programs (25% of graduating seniors will have studied abroad), also has high numbers of Fulbright Scholars, graduates in the Peace Corps, and alumni who end up working abroad or starting their own international projects. The fact is, laying an international foundation now opens up additional opportunities for jet-setting in your future.
You know what we hear over and over again from students who’ve just returned from studying abroad? “Wow, that was really a life-altering experience.” It’s true: you’ll never have had such an incredible sense of going beyond your own boundaries - and we’re not just talking about the U.S. border. There simply is no substitute for studying abroad. You gotta go!