The GC Study Abroad experience provides an excellent opportunity for students to expand their horizons and embrace new cultures. As deadlines for summer applications approach, many may be wondering what the study abroad process entails.
GC offers a multitude of study abroad programs that can be suited to any major. While studying abroad, students can earn academic credit in core or major courses. Summer and semester courses are available in every continent, including Antarctica.
Dr. Jarris Lanham, study abroad advisor, advised those interested in study abroad to attend informational meetings at the International Education Center on Mondays through Wednesdays. She also suggested that students apply to multiple scholarships in preparation for study abroad. In addition, students can help fund their study abroad experience by using financial aid.
Lanham suggested that students apply to multiple scholarships in preparation for study abroad. In addition, students can help fund their study abroad experience by using financial aid.
Dr. Sunita Manian, who leads the Paris program, urges study abroad students to prepare themselves for a culture shock. The International Center provides students with reading materials and face-to-face orientations before they leave for their destination.
“Faculty works with students beforehand to ensure that they are respectful of the culture, which is important,” Manian said. “When in a foreign environment, students should try to blend in as much as they can and try not to draw too much attention to themselves.”
Dr. Mariana Stoyanova, who leads the Cuenca, Spain program, described a situation where a student successfully adapted to living in a new country, though she did not know the language very well.
“She was nervous, but it was very interesting to see because the moment she met with the house dad she was just ecstatic,” Stoyanova said. “He was so warm towards her and they clicked from the beginning. Within 48 hours, she was able to work with the language and find her way around. “
Studying abroad can supply students with lifelong, transferable skills. Lanham explained that the experience can allow participants to gain skills such as; cross-cultural communication, time management, flexibility and the ability to adapt in stressful situations.
“We have never had a student come back from studying abroad and say it was a negative experience,” Lanham said. “Every student that comes back says their time abroad was transformative. Many even change their major after going on a study abroad because it changes their career goals.”
Alexa Baker, a study abroad intern for the international education center, said she felt more confident in her decisions after completing two study abroad programs.
“Studying abroad allowed me to see the world from a different perspective—seeing another culture and learning how that culture lives. It helped me become more independent because I had to solve problems more quickly,” said Baker. “My friends and I would be traveling over the weekend and have to figure out the train system, despite language barriers. Going through that, a stressful situation, and having to solve your way through it is a great life experience.”
Visit gcsu.edu/studyabroad to begin searching for a specific program or scholarship. The website also serves as a resource for FAQs and any other information about study abroad. Application deadlines vary, so potential applicants should apply early to ensure their placement in a program.