‘Experiencing a new culture’: UK students learn benefits of studying abroad


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Sarah Halsey

With a room exploding with energy, possibilities awaited students in the Gatton Student Center’s Grand Ballroom at the Education Abroad and Exchanges Fall Fair on Tuesday, Sept. 18.

Students buzzed with excitement as they went from table to table, getting as much information about studying abroad as possible.

Students eagerly picked up more flyers than they knew what to do with and enjoyed the freebies, such as t-shirts and Auntie Anne’s pretzels, while learning about the international opportunities available to them as UK students.

Freshman Brandon Brown said that he would look forward to “experiencing a new culture” if given the opportunity to study abroad. Brown described the study abroad fair as valuable because students get the opportunity to ask questions about the various abroad opportunities.

Information about various opportunities and programs is more readily available to students at the Education Abroad and Exchanges Fall Fair than anywhere on campus, making it an experience like no other.

Sipera Simons, a Student Affairs Officer, described studying abroad as an opportunity worth pursuing because of the “wealth of knowledge you gain, the opportunity to experience a new culture, to see how your program can apply globally, to network and to build relationships.”

She explained that such skills learned studying abroad make someone a great student at UK, too.

Patrick Lee Lucas, Chair of Education Abroad Committee of International Administration Council, described being able to see how your major applies in global economics and in overseas as “vital” because students need to be able to enter into professional spaces with “intercultural competence.”

He reminded students that people are people and are basically the same everywhere, meaning that relational skills are very transferable interculturally. He said he believes that studying abroad can help students to negotiate with those different than them and that studying abroad teaches students different, but equally important, ways of life. He said that studying abroad makes students more “innovative” and that the experience “enriches the classroom” as a whole because of the global perspective that students gain.

He said he believes that studying abroad is beneficial to everyone because of the expanded worldview that it provides, making it an invaluable experience that every student should pursue. He reminds students that they will never have more flexibility in their life than they will in college and that studying abroad will never be more possible than it is now.