Hey there! I’m very happy to be offering my two cents to all of you, as you are on the brink of making some of the most influential life choices that you will come across on your life journey. Not too long ago, I was in your shoes. I graduated with a major in Journalism/minor in Public Relations from the Department of Communication Arts at Georgia Southern University in 2011. Since then, I have held an array of positions within various industries, while recently latching onto a job and company that I love. I currently work in business development for a post start-up technology company in the medical industry, QGenda. In my free time, I enjoy writing (music, poetry, working on my first novel!), reading, listening to music/going to concerts, being with friends, working out, and mostly, enjoying life in whatever it be that I am doing. Please feel to link up with me or find me on Facebook under “Allie Aronson.” I’d love to meet any of you and/or gather feedback, questions, comments, etc. Happy reading!
Some of you may be contemplating if Studying Abroad is something that you want to pursue during your college career. And while I cannot make that decision for you, I am here to tell you a little bit about my experience and offer some general insight and helpful tips. I will relay back to one of the most wonderful times of my life, during the two months I spent in Madrid, Spain, in the summer of 2011.
Studying and living in Spain forced me to educate myself about the various aspects of the Spanish culture while studying back at school could only depict the cultural differences. Physically seeing the diversity and living the experience provided a deeper perspective compared to reading literature as a secondary source. The coursework challenged me both intellectually and culturally, while providing a unique hands-on learning experience. One that I never knew before and wouldn’t have been able to attain within the boundaries of my college campus.
Most of my days included walking the streets of the city, conversing with the locals and exploring. Every Tuesday was a field trip day in my International Communications class, which consisted of people watching (let’s just say Spain’s people watching was top notch) at the Principe Pio Mall, interviewing the unemployed protesters in Sol, and visiting various businesses including the “In Madrid” and “El Pais” newspapers. I utilized and embraced a more hands-on, active learning style, versus enduring the typical classroom-bound and textbook assignment environment that I was used to..
With all of the international danger scares these days, some might advise against certain travel, such as study abroad. And while I agree that practicing smart safety behaviors (found here) are crucial, I also truly believe that studying abroad is one of the most invaluable experiences that a young person can endeavor. I can honestly say that doing so was one of the most pivotal moments of my development as a young woman, both personally and professionally.
Study Abroad programs seek to cultivate global citizens. Global citizenship is not merely a stamp in your passport or a course on your transcript; it is a lifelong commitment to understanding, appreciating, and engaging with the world. Study abroad is an important stop on the pathway of discovering what it means to become a global citizen and to discovering a little bit more about yourself.
While all of this sounds like rainbows and butterflies, I understand that we are living in reality, and money does not grow on trees. If you are anything like I was, you may feel held back financially. However, I am here to tell you, there are various avenues to take if you need help with funding for the move. You already invest so much into your education, why not invest a little bit more while you are young and responsibilities are minimal! And trust me, as you grow older, you will not be sorry you did. You can find a few helpful tips for financing by checking out this article here.
Studying abroad should change you forever. Personally, culturally, and intellectually are just a few areas of growth you will experience. I would strongly encourage it to anyone teetering with the idea. It is a beautiful feeling to engulf yourself into a new culture, be able to adapt to a new environment, and see the world through someone else’s eyes. I wish you all a wonderful journey and hope that you too, come back with a story to tell.