SAI took a moment to chat with SAI’s Director of Strategic Initiatives Rodney Harris, who shares some wisdom on studying abroad.
Indulge me if you will as a previously young person who would like to pass on a bit of wisdom in regard to international education. As you may suspect, you are going to meet many people in your life. Some you will shake hands with and never see again while others you will know for decades and of course there will be many variations of relationships in between those two poles. As we are inherently social beings, these relationships will come to define a good portion of your life.
Regardless of your path, the broader more eclectic these relationships are will only enrich your life (and of course theirs). Studying outside of the uniformity of the U.S. and your college campus is a tremendous opportunity to engage with people who’s life experiences and world view will challenge your own. Short of wearing sunglasses and earbuds for the entire semester, it will be impossible for you not to develop relationships that will never allow you to see the world in the same light as prior to studying abroad.
Now, remember you did agree to indulge me and while the message here is rife with cliche, trust that there is real world wisdom being passed on. If you want to be a more interesting person, a rich variety of relationship experience is necessary. Imagine having friends and colleagues from around the world! Not pen pals or media driven caricatures of everyone outside the U.S, but true relationships. Again, some will be fleeting while others long lasting though in the end a better version of you will be built from them. Study abroad!