What Professor Armin Schwegler has to say about study abroad
Especially for Global Cultures majors, a global (international) experience is truly essential. The world beyond Irvine has so much to offer, and, as former Director of our Study Abroad Center in Costa Rica, I have seen ample evidence of the following:
Students who spend 6-12months abroad
(1) invariably have the EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME;
No matter where you go, you’ll be surrounded by local wit, warmth and energy. You’ll deepen your knowledge of the surrounding culture, and enjoy the youthful atmosphere of university settings abroad. From museums and architecture to music, cafes and pubs, studying abroad is an energizing adventure, and that eventually teaches you much more about YOUR OWN SELF than you ever imagined.
Changing your perspective
If you go abroad with an open mind, then you're certain to return to the U.S. a more enlightened person. One of the major benefits of studying abroad is its ability to broaden your world understanding and perspective on just about anything. You gain a different view of international affairs, from politics to economics to social issues. You also return with a deeper understanding and respect for your host country, knowing how another culture approaches daily life and unusual challenges.
You may also return with a new appreciation for the U.S. (coming back to California will be wonderful!). But, prior to your return, you may have learned to see things from a different perspective. For example, if you study international relations in France, it will be from a European perspective. Alternatively, studying the U.S. and American history from a different country's point of view can be fun. And, of course, all your classroom learning is enhanced by living in your abroad location and interacting with host families, housemates, roommates, or friends who are native to your abroad country.
Jump-starting your career
Studying abroad typically gives your resume a nice boost and improves your post-graduate employment prospects, particularly if you're considering a career in business, international affairs, or government service. Nowadays, employers actively seek college graduates who have spent time studying abroad because they want employees with an international knowledge base as well as foreign language skills.
The same international skills that make you more marketable for employment are also valued by graduate schools. These skills include cross-cultural communication skills, analytical skills, teamwork, flexibility, an understanding of cultural contexts, the ability to adapt to new circumstances and deal with differences, a developed view of the world outside the U.S., independence, and self-confidence.
There can be no doubt: studying and traveling abroad will make your UCI experience immeasurably richer!