by Julia Salem
Imagine yourself walking down the street. The hustle and bustle of a busy city envelopes your senses as you take in your surroundings. You feel a deep rush as you make your way through busy crowds, large stores and restaurants liberating the smell of delicious food. Sounds like your everyday city, right? The only difference here, though, is that you are in a foreign country.
Dominican University of California hosts a study abroad program where students can travel to and learn about the cultures of different parts of the world. With this kind of experience, students of this University can broaden their horizons, and learn through another culture’s eyes.
The study abroad program has been around for two-and-half years, according to Giulia Welch, the Assistant Director of Global Learning at Dominican University of California.
Through Dominican University’s Study Abroad Program students can have the chance to travel to various places around the world, such as Japan, Australia, Spain, Sweden, Indonesia and South Africa.
By taking advantage of this opportunity, students are given many benefits.
“It is a total emersion program,” Welch says, “It’s where our students go to another university and take their courses, usually in English, but they take them overseas and stay there for the entire semester and live with other students like them and really have a complete experience.”
“We are really looking to have a more comprehensive experience for our students,” Welch continued to comment on the many benefits that students are given, “At the highest level you go abroad, it helps you learn about who you are. Students think that they’re going to go overseas and learn about another culture and they really do. But the unexpected side effect is that they come back knowing more about themselves and learning more about their own culture because they get to see it from an outsiders perspective.”
Besides cultural benefits, students can also gain academic and professional benefits as well. “For many of our academic programs, there is a benefit to studying overseas,” says Welch, “so whether you’re studying business or communications or politics, or even art or music, even if you’re studying English or literature, getting a perspective from another culture of that subject that you’re studying is invaluable and if you’re going to have a career in any of those fields, business or politics, having gone abroad looks really, really good on your resume.”
When asked why employers would want to have students who have studied abroad or people who have had that kind of experience, Welch responded, “Because when you go abroad you’re outside your comfort zone. You have to learn to problem solve by default, probably the biggest complaint of employers of students who graduate in these days is that often younger people in the United States don’t know how to problem solve. They don’t know how to find out what they don’t know, and nothing prepares you to do that more than being in an environment which you have never been in before, where you don’t speak the language and the education system is completely different from what you’re used to.”
While studying abroad can be fun and exciting, students should make no mistakes or have any misunderstandings about what they are planning to commit to when studying overseas.
“The earlier you start planning, the better,” Welch advises, “The key word is to study abroad. It’s not a vacation. It is an academic experience. So, the more planning you can do ahead of time to fit it into your academic plan, the better.”
All students attending Dominican University of California are strongly advised and encouraged to participate in the Study Abroad Program. It can change the way you see new places and foreign cities.