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Vol 39  No 6
Nov. 23, 2006


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Student View




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Student View

By Jillian Terry


Finding yourself abroad

Every year, as the fall semester winds down and the days get shorter, I find myself daydreaming about a warm and sunny vacation in a far and distant land – a relaxing day at a park or on a beach, without a care in the world. Then, of course, I take a glance at my hectic exam schedule, and am immediately brought back to chilly reality. But, as I recently discovered, all hope is not lost – the far and distant land that so many students dream about isn’t nearly as far away as you might think.

The Institute for the International Education of Students (IES) recently released the results of a survey they conducted of 3,400 people who had previously studied abroad. About 96 per cent of respondents said that the experience increased their self-confidence, and 98 per cent said that studying abroad helped them to better understand their own cultural values and biases.

These statistics show that studying abroad for even just one semester is a life-changing experience for virtually any student. This same message was broadcast earlier this month at Memorial’s Study/Work Abroad Day, where students were able to get more information about what opportunities are available to them.

Memorial itself offers various programs for students wishing to travel to another country to study. The Harlow campus in England offers courses in many disciplines, as well as work terms and internships, which vary each semester. Memorial also offers courses at Institut Frecker in St-Pierre-Miquelon, which gives students the chance to improve their French skills by being immersed in a French environment for three months while taking French courses. At both locations, students pay regular Memorial tuition along with a program fee to cover room and board and other expenses.

Outside of Memorial’s many campuses, there are countless other opportunities for students to study or work abroad. A quick browse of the MUN website leads you to the north-western coast of Spain, where Spanish students can spend the summer at the University of La Coruña, to Heidelberg, Germany, or St. Petersburg, Russia, where students can improve their language skills at programs operated by the Department of German and Russian. Third-year French students can travel to Nice for a year abroad or to St-Pierre for a two-semester Lycée program. Political Science students can exchange with many European universities, including the University of Limerick in Ireland, Uppsala University in Sweden, and Universiteit Leiden in the Netherlands. Business students can also venture to Europe, or become an exchange student at one of the business school’s partner universities in Mexico.

It’s clear that many opportunities exist for students wishing to see another part of the world by studying abroad. It’s important to note, however, that while these programs may seem like an exotic vacation, the work is challenging and discipline is required to be sure that the novelty of the new locale doesn’t distract from your studies. Also, be sure to check with the Registrar’s Office before you embark on a foreign exchange to verify that the courses you plan on taking can be accepted for credit towards your degree when you arrive back at Memorial.

The global society of the 21st century is an exciting prospect. By studying overseas, you will encounter not only new academic material, but oftentimes, a culture that is completely different from your own. The friends and contacts made while studying abroad can last a lifetime, and may just spark an interest in travelling or working abroad after having completed your studies. Learning isn’t just confined to a classroom – finding out about another language or another country’s political system is something that can be applied to any career you might have in the future.

So, with a little research, that adventurous side of all of us can do what we’ve always wanted – pack our bags, and see the world.

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