How Study Abroad Impacted My Life

Elisabeth King
Besancon, France
Majors: French, Global Studies, International Business

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Spice up your life, living a globally focused life

Without a doubt the most valuable lessons I learned in my college career in my life thus far have been because I studied abroad and have been committed to living a globally focused life. What even is a globally focused life? It’s about connecting yourself to the outside world; being a part of it and having it become a part of you. It’s especially crucial as being globally engaged is a mission of the university, a huge resume builder and will most definitely change your outlook as a person.

How can you make these international experiences happen?

As someone who didn’t travel (minus Canada) until I was sophomore at WMU I know it can be a financial strain. If you make it a priority and plan it doesn’t have to be. As college is an investment in your future study abroad can be as well. Planning in advance and seeing what’s possible for you! A semester isn’t for everyone, but my semester was even less expensive than a semester at WMU. Look at your options in terms of lengths and locations of programs as they will affect the cost. There’s really never a better time to take advantage of scholarships because WMU and so many future employers want you to have that incredible experience under your belt before you even graduate.

Kilomètre zero in Paris, if you touch it with your foot it means that you’re going to come back.
Kilomètre zero in Paris, if you touch it with your foot it means that you’re going to come back.

What can you do after?

It’s easy to linger on your international experiences and miss that way of life dearly. However, I think it’s important to build upon these experiences. This can mean getting involved with international students from all over-during orientation or events like international fest. You can even just talk to fellow students about your experience! The next logical step would be planning your next adventure! There are other study abroad experiences, internships and work opportunities out there. Do your comprehensive research especially in regards to what funds are out there. It took me two years after my semester abroad, but now this week I’m leaving for Montreal to do research for my senior thesis in French. All possible by a grant I received from the College of Arts and Sciences. Fingers crossed I’ll be in France in the fall as an English teaching assistant. None of that would have been possible without my study abroad experiences, French professors at WMU and my high school French teacher Suzie Martin. They encouraged me to go way out of my comfort zone and become engaged with the world.

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