Students reflect on study abroad experiences

Nile Pierre, News Editor

When the benefits include the expansion of worldview, an increase in cross-cultural communication and new and exciting experiences, it is no surprise that nearly 600 Tulane students study abroad each year.

Together, the Office of Study Abroad and Goldring Institute offer more than 80 programs around the world where students can study for the semester, school year or during breaks. Programs are offered in the native language of the country, as well as courses taught in English.

Studying in a different country allows students to build a global network and apply the skills they learned at Tulane in a different setting. Since students are studying and living abroad for longer periods of time, there is potential for a more immersive and meaningful experience.

“I learned that it is one thing to visit these beautiful places, but it’s another to live there and be a part of the community and make real connections with people,” junior Paton Lamprecht, who spent the fall semester in Milan, said.

Living and studying abroad can require some adjustments to culture and academic structure and often challenge the skills students have gained at Tulane.

“It was harder than I thought it was going to be and a lot more self taught than back in the states,” junior Lamrot Abadula, who studied abroad in London, said.

Though adjusting to a new academic setting can be difficult, some students found their fears of difficulties abroad debunked.

Courtesy of Paton Lamprecht

“Other than evaluation, the classes were very similar to Tulane,” Lamprecht said. “I was expecting some sort of language barrier with professors or maybe just difficulty with accents, but that wasn’t the case.”

Coming back to Tulane and readjusting to life can be just as difficult as adapting to life abroad, somewhat of a reverse culture shock. Students can use the tools they gained outside of the country, however, to help them with their career at Tulane and beyond.

“There have been so many changes to campus and fellow students, I feel like I don’t recognize anyone,” Lamprecht said. “It is a bit of a change coming back to a place that is very wasteful and constantly in excess. I find myself applying what I learned from living abroad to my life at Tulane.”

While coming back can be overwhelming at times, studying abroad can be a great way to refresh or solidify a student’s academic and professional goals.

Courtesy of Lamrot Abadula

“I think studying abroad really put a lot of things in perspective, and I’m ready to focus on my goals and make sure I achieve them this year without many distractions,” Abadula said.

As students prepare to study abroad this spring semester, they have a myriad of new experiences to anticipate.

“I’m looking forward to strengthening my Spanish skills and exploring a new continent as I study abroad in Spain this semester,” junior Juharah Worku said. “When I return, I hope I feel refreshed and ready to finish my senior year.”

Applications for 2019-20 year-long programs and fall 2019 semester-long programs through OSA are due Feb. 11. The applications for summer 2019 study abroad programs are due Feb. 18. For more information, visit the Office of Study Abroad.

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