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Studying Abroad

December 4th, 2013 by ebeck722

By: Shannon '15Shannon Coolahan

New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan, South Africa, Ireland, England… These are just a few of the many places that RWU has to offer when it comes to studying abroad. Studying abroad means that you get the opportunity to continue your education in another country. Not only will you be learning in a foreign land, you also get the chance to live the life of people from a vast majority of cultures and backgrounds. There are year-long programs, semester long programs, and even shorter programs.

I was given the amazing opportunity to study abroad last winter break in Jamaica for ten days. I was part of a group of fourteen RWU students who traveled to a small Jamaican community where we lived with families, spent time with the residents, toured the country, and educated the community on mental illness. Although this was only a short study abroad experience, it was life changing. I lived in a new culture.  I was able to see the world from a different perspective, which opened up my eyes to the rest of the world around me that I had never experienced.  Next semester, I will be leaving RWU and my home to study abroad in Limerick, Ireland. Like the Jamaica trip, I know that this experience will be just as life changing and it will be an adventure that I will never forget.

The idea of living in another country may seem like an extremely scary experience. Not only are you in a place that is so different from what you are used to with a huge cultural differences, you are also leaving your family and friends.  Going abroad gives you the opportunity to learn about yourself, others, and the country around you. Living abroad lets you do things you never thought you would do or even could do. You meet people that are different from yourself that teach you things that you will take with you for the rest of your life. When you go abroad you are forced to go out of your comfort zone, you learn and you become immersed in a world you can’t have imagined being part of. You open your eyes to new people and new experiences that will change the way you look at things at home and the way that you live your life.

The Roger Williams study abroad programs offers all different kinds of programs. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can go away for a whole year or you can go away for just a semester, which seems to be the most popular choice for RWU students. If you are not really willing to give up a whole semester away from school, friends, and family, there are a number of programs that take place over winter break or summer vacation. These programs can be affiliated with majors or they can just be for the experience of living and learning in another country.

While studying abroad is not for everyone, it is something that I think every student should at least consider. There are so many places to go!  It is an opportunity that does not come often and it is an experience that can change a person’s life. Going abroad is an eye opening adventure that changes the way that you look at things for the rest of your life.  Check out the details at the Study Abroad Office in GHH, or email the Director of the program, Kevin C. Hayden at khayden@rwu.edu.