Impact college experience with travel

Hannah Jewell, Staff Writer

Studying abroad is an opportunity that not all students choose to take advantage of while in college.  

Less than five percent of all UW-Whitewater students — about 400 people — take advantage of studying abroad each year. The remaining students pass up the chance of a lifetime.

“Gaining intercultural competency, cross-cultural communication, independence, taking classes counting towards your major and seeking experiences outside your comfort zone” are among the top benefits of traveling abroad, said UW-W Global Experiences Coordinator Dan Colleran.

Students studying abroad profit from long-term benefits, such as gaining self-confidence, acquiring new friends and enhancing their résumé by adding international experience, Colleran said.

In addition, career opportunities heighten due to travel experiences.

“Employers are looking for people who can adapt to change, work with diverse groups of people, have problem solving skills and can work independently,” Colleran said. “Those are all the skills you acquire when you go abroad.”

Colleran says the time is now. If traveling abroad has peaked your interest, but is not feasible due to your financial situation, there are options available through the college such as scholarships, grants, loans and financial aid. Students also work and have family assist in alleviating costs.

It is not pivotal to spend a whole year or semester in another country.

The UW-W Center for Global Education offers over 100 programs in over 50 countries. If the thought of staying abroad is intimidating, there are programs available for as little as one week; programs can also last up to one year.

Colleran sheds light to all of the ways to study abroad. There are exchange programs, internships, faculty-led international courses, UW system programs, affiliate programs and many more.

“Every student should definitely consider some type of global experience before they graduate,” said Colleran.

Global pathway meetings and peer advisors available for consultations daily. The global experience fair is also a good resource and private meetings are offered as well. For more information, visit Hyland hall, suite 1227