Take the chance to study abroad

Studying abroad is not easy, but Pipers can make it.


Mien Le, Columnist

Much of the information about studying abroad provided by the Global Engagement Center inspires, not only me, but other students to get a chance for experiencing something different. I understand how hard it is to get an opportunity to come and learn in another country. Although it’s hard, it’s worth it.

Attending college in the US is a very amazing thing, but why do I tell you to study abroad? The United States has everything we need for a comfortable life, but what about going to a Thai pagoda and meditating like Thai people? Have you ever thought about being a part of Carnival with your classmates in Brazil? Think about it. Studying abroad is not only just experiencing a new academic environment, but is also for trying new things, new lifestyles that are out of our comfort zones.

“I chose to study abroad because I wanted to learn more about the world I live in beyond books and articles,” said senior Ricardo Martinez, who studied abroad in Morocco and South Korea. “I wanted to push my comfort zone and learn about what community means to those outside of my culture. The most impactful part of the journey were the people I met along the way. Food can be delicious, the ocean can be the perfect temperature for swimming, the view on the top of the mountain can be marvelous, but nothing compares to being able to share those experiences with those you love.”

As humans, we are learning all the time. When we find ourselves in new and unfamiliar contexts – a market in Germany, for example – even the smallest interactions can become significant lessons. Therefore, going to another country to study will be an experience that changes yourself forever, not only as a student but also a person. It gives you a more diverse community.

“In the US, I feel so wrapped up in my busy, fast-paced lifestyle that the pace of Egypt has given me time to reflect on myself and realize how much I still need to grow,” said junior Quinn Siegman. Siegman was a Hamline Exchange student in Cairo, Egypt.

Studying abroad also means changing how you will learn in a totally new academic environment. Your time overseas will teach you so much more than what’s on the syllabus, giving you invaluable opportunities, you’ll gain an unparalleled education.

When you study just in one country, any information you know about other nations is through social media. But it always has something called “media biases” that can spread untruthful things about other cultures. Therefore, the most important thing that studying abroad brings to you is reducing your cultural biases. 

Unlike a short vacation, when you study abroad you have the chance to see what life is really like in another country. The encounters you have as you shop for groceries, ask for directions or walk through neighborhoods will teach you more about a place and its people than any textbook or guidebook could. By going beyond the tourist stops, you will obtain personal knowledge of your new city, the people who live there and perhaps even a bit of its history. Living like a local is one of the best ways to understand a culture.

“Through studying abroad, you are able to interact in a cultural exchange that will change you forever,” senior Sherina Dyrma, a Hamline international student who comes from Albania said. “This is one of the most impactful methods of cross-cultural interaction.”

I know the decision of studying away and going out of your comfort zone is extremely tough. But Pipers, you are young and open-minded, so just try it and don’t be scared. 

Going to another country to study means being immersed in a different culture and living like a local person. Going on vacation and visiting just famous places and having meals in fancy restaurants will never be the same. I believe that the Global Engagement Center is doing its work very well to help all of you to be able to get at least one chance to experience and broaden your horizon in another country besides the United States.