Why Study Abroad?
One question I am consistently asked by incoming students is “Should I study abroad?” I’ve heard it asked a million times and it was even a question I had.
The answer is YES! If you have the chance (and you will) to go abroad, I would definitely recommend it.
This past semester, I spent 10 days abroad over Spring Break in Paris, France.
Before I detail my trip, let me cover the different options for studying abroad:
Whole Semester – This is most commonly seen. Students can go to another institution in another country and spend their semester abroad. You’ll take the same classes you would here, but you’ll be at another institution.
Summer – Summer trips vary in time. Some last one month, some last a few weeks, so this is all about spending some time in another country and earning class credit for it. You can go at almost any time over the summer through a UNC Charlotte program.
Spring Break – Typically spring break is a faculty-led program where you will have a class with a UNC Charlotte instructor and they will act almost as a tour guide throughout the week.
Interning Abroad – You also have the opportunity to intern abroad. This involves partnering and working with a company in another country and have an internship experience.
My Study Abroad Experience
Personally, I chose to do a faculty-led trip to Paris. Since it was my first time out of the country, I decided to go with a program where I knew and met the people I was traveling with, the faculty knows their way around the destination, and others fluently speak French. Despite being a faculty-led program, I still had plenty of free time during our 10 days to explore by myself and see other parts of Paris.
Over the course of this trip, I was able to completely immerse myself in the French culture including French food, the French language, and French mannerism.
Leaving the country allowed me to leave my comfort zone and have a great time while doing it. I was very stressed about speaking French, but I was able to pick some up throughout the 10 days.
We were able to see large tourist landmarks as well as smaller local places.
This is me and a friend in front of the Arc de Triomphe. We got to go to the top of the Arc after this photo was taken.
Another aspect is paying for the trip. Scholarships and payment plans are the best way to go.
The Office of Education Abroad is willing to work and help students with the resources to help with the financial burden.
Studying abroad helped me in my personal and professional life and helped me gain skills in problem-solving, adaptation, and stepping out of my comfort zone.
If you are considering studying abroad at UNC Charlotte, do it! This was an unforgettable experience that I will have for the rest of my life.