Study abroad when you still have time

By AJ Edwards

As college students, we have the pleasure of summer vacations and month-long Christmas breaks. There’s no better way to take advantage of this time off than to visit places entirely different from home.

By seeing a different part of the world, you’re presented with the opportunity to further understand cultures and ways of life. This understanding can help you work with diverse people, be more familiar with foreign policies and become a more cultured world citizen.

Not only can you do some traveling on your own while on break, but you can also do it through NIU. With the end of the semester right around the corner, it’s a great time to apply for study abroad opportunities.

“Study abroad is the ability to pursue education opportunities outside of the United States to complete part of a student’s degree requirements,” said Lauren Mock, Outreach and Programming coordinator. “This could be in the form of classroom study, research or internships.”

What greater way to study international business or European history than by actually studying in Europe? This is a chance to get some class credits and be on vacation.

“I think it’s a great way to see the world, or at least see a place you otherwise would not have the opportunity to see,” said Alyssa Lazzerini, sophomore public health promotion major. “I’d love to visit and study in Italy.”

I know what you’re thinking: I could never afford to participate in study abroad. I mean, who can on a part time job’s pay? There are plenty of opportunities NIU offers to make studying abroad possible.

“Students are able to use financial aid to help fund their study abroad experience,” Mock said. “In addition to that aid, there are scholarships and grants available just for study abroad. In addition to these funding opportunities, there are also many lower-cost program options available to students.”

If you have any questions about NIU’s study abroad program, I strongly encourage you to visit the study abroad office in Williston Hall, Room 417. Even if you feel it is something you can’t do, it’s never a bad idea to at least get some information.

Take advantage of the opportunities we are presented with as college students. After we graduate we’ll be adults, and upon entering that period of our lives we’ll be forced to surrender our summer vacation.

The best time to begin thinking about traveling is right now. Jump on the opportunities of the breaks from classes we have as students and go see the world. Take some time out of your day to apply for a semester abroad. You will not regret it.