College is a place where many lives are shaped—both inside and outside the classroom. Wherever you choose to attend, you are ultimately choosing your nest for the next four or more years. That nest becomes your home, where you are educated and experience a life where you are given more control and more responsibilities.
However, within that nest, you are still partially tucked away from the world, where you are learning more than experiencing. You can still fall into a comfort zone in college, which hinders your potential growth. While you can learn plenty from textbooks and lectures, actually experiencing something takes education to a whole new level, as Melissa Kuiper, a Spanish Education major at Cornerstone University, recently discovered.
"There's no better way to learn about a culture than being immersed in it," said Kuiper. "You can learn from a textbook, but the trip is living an experience."
Kuiper recently returned from a study abroad trip in Spain, where she took classes, lived with a host family, and helped tutor students learning English. As a Spanish Education major, who now only has one semester left until graduation, she saw the value of taking the study abroad experience offered by Cornerstone.
There are several reasons why a student should know about and consider the study abroad and global trip opportunities offered at their college. With it flushing you out of a comfort zone you built at school, you enter an environment where there are new future networking opportunities, the need to make new friends, you become even more independent, and most importantly, you discover and learn about a whole new culture.
For instance, along with enhancing her Spanish-speaking abilities, during Kuiper's tenure in Spain, she was able to experience how Christmas is celebrated. She saw firsthand the differences between how the holiday is celebrated there compared to what she is used to at home.
"They don't celebrate Christmas the same way," said Kuiper. "I saw hardly any Christmas shops and no Christmas trees."
Kuiper said she also took Flamenco dancing lessons, and went on to perform in front of her host family by the semester's end.
Ultimately, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't look into the global opportunities at your school (or future school, for that matter). It's a chance to have the world further influence you, all the while putting your own influence on the world.
Schools like Cornerstone, like to encourage global interaction, and will offer a plethora of opportunities for you to do just that. Chances are, it will become the highlight of your entire college career.
To learn further about global opportunities offered at Cornerstone, visit www.cornerstone.edu/study-abroad.