Studying abroad offers life-changing experiences

Before I went to Paris, France, I never truly realized the impact traveling to another country could have on a person. I always knew it would be a cool thing to do if the price was right, but I never fully understood how life altering it could be.

Thanks to Missouri Southern’s Institute of International Studies department, though, now I do know and I strongly recommend anyone who has never stepped foot outside the US to start exploring the various study abroad options offered at Missouri Southern.

For those of you think it’s too expensive, you’d actually be surprised by some of the options available. My trip to Paris was actually a short-term study abroad option that lasted ten days and cost less than $2,000.

Of course, there aren’t very many students who have that kind of cash laying around, but it’s really not hard to save up that much money if you put your mind to it. If your GPA is above 2.5 and you’re a full-time student, you can actually apply for a $750 grant that will help pay for the trip. Even students who don’t get the grant can still travel to foreign countries with the rest of the group as long as they pay the extra expenses.

That said, the best part of a study abroad trip is actually the study part, as crazy as it sounds. While simply visiting another country and seeing the sights is invigorating, the added educational aspect actually gives you the opportunity to network with people you may not have met otherwise. For instance, attending the International Media Seminar at the American University in Paris allowed me to meet and interact with actual media professionals living in Paris, such as Jim Bitterman, CNN’s foreign correspondent based in Paris, and John G. Morris, a former photo editor for Life magazine who took photos for the publication during World War II.

It’s hard to explain exactly how life altering a study abroad trip can be, and I certainly can’t imagine what a semester-long trip would be like. All I know is that my trip only lasted 10 days, two of which were spent flying across the Atlantic and chilling in airports, but I’m still finding it hard to readjust to the fourstate region and, to be perfectly honest, I don’t see myself making a full recovery anytime soon.