Study abroad can be an enriching and challenging experience where learning extends beyond the classroom walls. There is no substitute for living and studying in a foreign country if you want to gain in-depth knowledge of another culture's customs, people, and language. In addition, you will find that living and studying or working in another country can develop important transnational competencies that can be of interest to future employers.
Students who return from a study abroad program often see it as an experience which matured them personally and intellectually. Exposure to new ways of thinking and living encourages growth and independence. For many students, going abroad to study is the first time they have really been away from 'home,' from familiar surroundings of the USA, as well as from friends and family.
This is seldom an easy experience but worthwhile and potentially transforming for to those who seek to build knowledge and understanding of life outside of the United States. Many students find that they learn more about their own national, regional, and university culture after having to live and learn the cultural norms of others.
After immersing themselves in a new culture, mastering the challenges of learning in a new and different academic environment, and experiencing the many highs and lows of being a 'foreigner,' students typically return home with increased self-confidence and justifiable pride in what they have achieved.
New Perspective on World Affairs
Study abroad can broaden your intellectual horizons and deepen your knowledge and understanding of international, political, and economic issues. It is almost certain that you will return from your sojourn abroad with a more informed and accurate perspective on world affairs. You will also have first-hand knowledge of how another culture approaches the tasks and challenges of everyday life, a sense of how 'global' the international culture has become, and an appreciation of the importance of international cooperation.
You will probably also gain a broader understanding of, and appreciation for, the United States, its way of life, and its role in international affairs. Through your professors, the other students in your program, and people you meet, you'll learn how others view the United States and its world role. If you live in a country where English is not the native language, or is spoken only by some, you will learn the practical importance of learning another language and using it.
Study abroad can do more than promote academic enrichment and personal growth. It also can enhance your employment prospects, especially in the fields of business, international affairs, and government service. Employers increasingly seek graduates who have studied abroad. They know that students who have successfully completed a study abroad program are likely to possess international knowledge and often second-language skills. Such students are also likely to have other transnational competencies that graduate and professional schools and employers value just as highly: cross-cultural communication skills, analytical skills, an understanding of and familiarity with local customs and cultural contexts, flexibility, resilience, and the ability to adapt to new circumstances and deal constructively with differences.
Everyone is Invited at New Paltz!
The Center for International Programs is proud to serve the diverse and exciting New Paltz and SUNY community. Our staff support the needs of all students who study abroad and have special training and interest in those who are historically underrepresented in the field. We proactively support all students no matter their race, class, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, ability, political affiliation, gender, age or health status. We recognize that proactive inclusion and advocacy make not only for better study abroad programs, but a better world.