The Daily Gamecock

Column: Students should consider studying abroad for endeavors, education and experience

Studying abroad can be beneficial to students seeking the three Es: Endeavors, Education and Experience. These key features are just a taste of why studying abroad ought to be on your agenda for the future.

Endeavors are adventures to pursue, as well as goals to achieve in new locations. Education is about learning something new on a profound level. Experience involves setting out on journeys full of new sights and all that life has to offer.

Each of these aspects are significant since they promote the gaining of new information, which can be of a cultural, spiritual, academic or geographical nature. 

Culture, for example, can be an immersive experience for students through learning the native language or simply being there.

“It’s just a great experience … it’s like tying in a vacation with learning at the same time,” Andrea Barber, a former student who studied at Yeungnam University in Gyeongsan, South Korea, said.

Many individuals may be concerned about how they will adjust to or navigate a place where they have never visited or do not speak the language fluently. It's important to be careful at all times, but do not allow your fears to hold you back, because assistance may come in the most surprising ways.

“Even times when I didn’t need help … natives would offer,” Barber said. 

Although help is not hard to come by while studying abroad, it's also an excellent way to develop independence.

Even if you travel with others, going to a new country and gaining exposure can help you develop perspective by allowing you to see a different side of the world. You gain independence through discovering new ways to care for yourself or approaching real-life situations from the new perspective you have gained from traveling.

If you don't know which country you'd like to visit, that is perfectly acceptable. Exploring new possibilities will open up a whole new mindset. By conducting research and hearing stories from others, you will be able to gain a fresh outlook on education through adventure.

“Studying abroad has a different impact on each student,” University of South Carolina Education Abroad Advisor Marci Heidt said. 

With your long-term goals in mind, you can plan a study abroad trip around the aspects you'll need, such as major requirements, job experience or cultural awareness.

"There's also the potential for networking opportunities. Let's say, if you're a business student and you go study abroad at one of the top business universities in the world, you have that sort of connectivity and that networking opportunity," Heidt said. 

You might not know where you want to go or whether you have the financial means to do so, which is why utilizing the available resources is so important. The Study Abroad Advising office has financial accessibility options that help students who need special accommodations according to Heidt.

This is also a chance to engage with others and experience a part of life that isn't often accessible. Camille Szotfried, a third-year international and global studies major, will be studying in Paris, France in Fall 2022. 

"I feel like this is kind of one of those things you only get to do once," Szotfried said. "I really just want to learn about the culture as much as possible."

By studying abroad, your goals and aspirations will be closer and more attainable. Once you educate yourself on the process and possibilities, the choice to study abroad is obvious. 

"Not everybody has the opportunity to take a gap semester or do traveling over the summer, and so this might be the only chance that some students have while they're still in undergrad to experience the world a little bit more abroad, whether that's going to Latin or South America, or Europe or Asia," Heidt said. 

Even if you're not sure where you're going, you should take advantage of this opportunity while it's still available.

Embark on an endeavor, gain the education to prepare you for your future and experience the unknown. If you don't go out and look, you'll never know what's out there.