(why take classes on campus when you can take them abroad???)
I remember going into college wanting really badly to study abroad and being fairly certain it wouldn’t happen. I’m an engineering major; everyone said it was impossible/unwise/expensive/impossible.
Well, darling, I can tell you for sure it’s possible. I did it.
I woke up one morning and said to myself, I want to do the EE summer study abroad, walked into the Study Abroad office, and by afternoon, had started my application. A touch of spontaneity never hurt anybody.
So why did I (and why should you) do a summer study abroad? Here are five reasons from before and after my experience.
- It fit neatly into my plan.
Okay, so that spontaneity was…modified spontaneity. I had been eyeing the summer study abroad featuring electrical engineering for a few months. It fit nicely in my plan of required courses and helped me complete my EE and humanities requirements. Plus, being a summer semester meant it would take some of the load off of my regular (fairly packed) semesters on campus.
- The classes have a different learning format.
Class is still class. However, both EE and humanities were configured differently from a class in a regular semester on campus. Humanities met all around Berlin, meaning the classroom was the city. Classes consisted of tours of the city and its memorial sites and discussions of the sites and the assigned readings. EE met in a classroom in the Berlin WorldWide campus. Since there were fewer classes than even a summer semester on campus, class often ran for several hours. However, content was interspersed with breaks. I, for one, preferred having large chunks of information at once over a shorter semester; it helped when trying to connect and retain concepts. In both classes, assignments were designed with the “abroad” nature of the course in mind: they did not serve as “busy work” but as a means for the students to demonstrate their understanding of the concepts in the course.
- The class size is small(er than usual).
That means you get to bond with your classmates and professors and learn loads more about them. Which is fun. It also means the professor can take the time to explain a concept more carefully if a student is struggling to grasp it. Which is super helpful.
- You actually will expand your perspective.
I’m sorry. I know. The ultimate cliché. But it’s true. Whether that’s learning to use public transport (not applicable to me personally), about different infrastructure systems (the intercity trains in Germany are pretty awesome), to say right, left, train, airport, and bye in a new language (recht, links, zug, flughafen, tschüss), or about local food favorites (kebaps, kebaps, kebaps). Those seem like small details, but truly, seeing different cultures creates a broader understanding of the many different approaches people have to life, which is a valuable understanding you will not gain in the classroom (or in Daytona Beach…because you’ve kind of already seen it and it’s still the States).
- YOU’RE ABROAD.
After class, you have a whole, exciting, unknown city to explore, which we all know is infinitely more exciting than endless heaps of homework and Daytona Beach (sorry, DB, but Berlin is way cooler).