The Office of Global Experiences held a dinner for students who recently returned from studying abroad in the Fern Young Terrace Wednesday, Nov. 13. The “Re-entry Gala dinner” focused on reacclimating students to UW-W culture.
John McGuigan, interim director of the Office of Global Experiences, began the event with a short introduction. Much of what he said was driven towards his own experiences with traveling and having to deal with the highs and lows of coming back to your old ways of life.
“You may figure that people at home change, but you don’t realize that you go through changes as well,” McGuigan said.
McGuigan stressed the importance of understanding that studying abroad is an experience more than a trip.
“Students who study abroad often find themselves deepening their understanding of themselves and their culture, more so than learning from other cultures,” said McGuigan.
Dan Colleran, a Global Experience coordinator, also spoke on the importance of studying abroad and the positives that follow.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to get outside of your comfort zone and experience the world from a different perspective,” said Colleran.
Colleran also urged students to tell their friends and family about their experiences to spread the good word about traveling abroad.
“Sometimes studying abroad can actually be cheaper than attending school at UW-Whitewater, so why not travel the world?” he said.
Students shared their personal stories amongst each other and bonded over similar experiences while abroad. Many spoke of the problem solving they were forced to endure while in a foreign land, such as public transportation and communicating with locals.
Ron Buchholz, director of the Career and Leadership department, ended the ceremony. His goal was to get students to sell their experiences from studying abroad in the business world properly.
“Make employers aware of your experience, as well as your problem-solving abilities outside of your comfort zone,” Buchholz said.
Buchholz brought up how people might talk about their trips abroad to possible employers.
“Don’t just tell them where you went, tell them exactly what you learned and how you dealt with issues that may come up in a work environment,” said Buchholz. “Employers aren’t looking for people to come to them with a problem, they are looking for people to come to them with four solutions to that problem.’’