From Greek Life, to intramural sports, to seminar classes and beyond, college, particularly Trinity, provides opportunities for students to expand their horizons and engage in new experiences. Many of these chances are gone after graduation, so it is important to take advantage of the time and resources unique to the college years. One opportunity many students choose to pursue is study abroad.
Some students are interested in pursuing semester-long trips based on shorter trips they’ve taken through the university. Trinity offers study abroad programs for entire semesters or just several weeks.
“I went to Cuba with Trinity over winter break. The shorter two week program opened my eyes to what an incredible experience study abroad is and has inspired me to pursue a longer trip,” said Joseph Khalaf, a sophomore accounting major.
Several opportunities and possibilities exist as to what kind of trip a student can have, and the sooner one begins planning their ideal opportunity, the better.
“People looking to study abroad need to consider what kind of experience they are looking for. Short term or long term, foreign language or English, host family or not, what kind of credits they have a use for, and so on. I advise planning and exploring all options you may be interested in for a trip. Also, make the most of your time abroad because it doesn’t last forever,” Khalaf said.
The chance to experience new opportunities in an unfamiliar place during one’s formative years is one of the primary reasons students choose to study abroad.
“I always knew I wanted to study abroad in college because I may never be presented with the opportunity to live in another country again. I have always loved traveling and I think it provides one of the best learning experiences. Immersing yourself in another culture is incredibly eye-opening, challenging, and amazing all at once,” said Andrea Lee, a junior psychology major.
One-on-one sessions with representatives from the study abroad office worked to ensure the best trip was available for traveling students. “I basically met with them four to five times and they covered everything. They also held preparation sessions with forms specific to your country that told you about ways to blend in with the culture in that area. I felt completely prepared before I left and they were always sending follow-up emails to make sure we were doing alright,” Lee said.
During situations in which a student’s safety may be compromised, Trinity prioritizes the well-being of the student, doing everything in their power to ensure their security; Lee was in Paris during the November terrorist attacks, and found that her university was steadfast in assisting her.
“In less than an hour, Ben Gomez, who I had been traveling with, and I received an email regarding our safety in the area. They then continued to send emails and provide information on what the US Consulate was saying about the situation. They did not sound alarmed in the emails, which made it easier to stay calm under the circumstances,” Lee said.
The opportunity to study abroad comes with a lot of work and frustration, however, and students may need to prepare themselves for a lengthy, frustrating process.
“I want to study abroad mainly because I want to learn better Spanish for my major. I also want to go to Bolivia because it’s not a typical travel experience; it’s different, which is really attractive to me, and I can really immerse myself in their culture,” said Stacey Debner, a sophomore sociology and Spanish double major.
Although there may be a serious desire to study abroad, not all opportunities to visit countries of choice are easily approached; interested students have to be patient with the process to fully comprehend it.
“The first steps presentation was good, and I think everything was well-presented and logical, but the presentation made the process sound much easier than it is. The website can be confusing, and it’s difficult to understand what needs to be done in person and online; the forms are very confusing, as well as the process to follow them. There’s a lot of necessary coordination that’s just not well explained,” Debner said.
To study abroad, a student should have patience and determination in order to plan the best trip possible; without these qualities, the process may become tedious or confusing. If you’re interested in studying abroad, you’re encouraged to visit the International Programs Office or contact Nancy Ericksen at firstname.lastname@example.org to go over any questions or concerns.