The World is Your Classroom
Why Study Abroad?
The opportunities for enhancing one’s understanding of literature written in English through foreign study are almost boundless: seeing Shakespeare performed in the rebuilt London Globe, visiting the Lake District where Wordsworth and Coleridge wrote their finest poetry, reading Joyce’s Ulysses in Dublin, discussing American literary texts with British, Australian, or Indian students, or experiencing Coetzee’s South Africa. Or perhaps you're going to study abroad to have an international experience to write about for a travel magazine, or blog.
English majors who study abroad come to understand that cultural context is crucial for interpreting literary texts, that knowledge is constructed differently in other political and social millieu. Or through immersion in a foreign-language university, they may gain fluency in another language and acquire a sense of its literature while at the same time studying English literature.
English majors find that a term, or better, a year in a foreign university not only enhances their critical and writing skills, but that the experience of adapting to another academic and cultural world expands their self-understanding and gives them a keen sense of the political and social differences in today’s world. The personal and intellectual growth of study abroad provides further advantages when it comes to the challenges of graduate and professional study.
To Become a "Global Citizen" in Today's Interconnected World
Now, more than ever, our world is interconnected. To be successful — personally, intellectually, and professionally — you must become a "global citizen," skilled at interacting in and between multiple cultures and capable of analyzing issues on a global level.
As Colin Powell's statement above suggests, getting an international education — in other words, studying abroad — is one of the best ways for students to build global competence.
The experience can help you:
- Develop new perspectives on academic subjects and real-world issues
- Study abroad lets you study a variety of subjects in more depth and from different cultural perspectives. Outside the classroom, your personal education is enhanced through daily interactions in the foreign culture with host families or housemates and others in the community.
Achieve proficiency in a foreign language
While you can learn grammar and vocabulary at UNO, it is impossible to become truly proficient in a foreign language without using it in a real-world setting. A non-English-speaking country is the ultimate "language classroom."
Experience personal growth
Study abroad is a challenging adventure, academically and personally. Students who return from abroad consistently report that they developed a greater sense of independence and confidence in their capabilities.
Develop valuable career skills
Students who study abroad often develop career skills that make them especially marketable, including:
- Critical thinking and problem solving
- Independence and self confidence
- Teamwork and communication
- Motivation and leadership
- Flexibility and adaptability
- An expanded world view and multicultural perspective
To Take Part in a Life-Changing Experience
With proper planning and preparation, the study abroad experience can truly be life-changing. Nationwide, students who have studied abroad consistently count their international experience as one of the best parts of their college careers. They report that they not only advanced academically but also acquired a renewed sense of intellectual energy and focus, as well as a more sophisticated view of the world around them.
In all, for those students who undertake the challenge, living and studying abroad is one of the most exciting and enriching opportunities available at UNO.