By Meghan Vaill, CALS Junior majoring in Animal Science
Have you ever considered studying abroad? Maybe it’s an overwhelming, exciting, or even terrifying thought to you, like it was, at first, for me. No matter how you feel about the idea, I guarantee that if you put some time into finding a suitable program, you’ll never regret your decision.
Last spring, I was fortunate enough to attend Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. I was able to open my eyes to an entirely new view of the dairy industry that I grew up in, immerse myself in a culture I knew nothing about, see some of the most beautiful landscapes in the entire world, and share these memories with two of my best friends attending Lincoln with me.
Good news – there are various ways to customize your own abroad experience to make it right for you like I was able to:
(1) You could study with one of your friends or classmates if you’re nervous to go alone. (2) If you’re uncomfortable with a language barrier, there are lots of great programs around the world that primarily speak English or work hard to help unify international students. (3) If you’re worried about fulfilling requirements to graduate or for further education, we have career advisors to guide you! Many programs allow for students with strict course requirements.
(4) Oftentimes, financial aid works similarly for abroad programs as it does here in Ithaca.
Looking back on how I benefitted from studying abroad, I cannot stress it enough that you should at least investigate to see if studying abroad is right for you. For some, it isn’t, and that’s okay. But for others, this is the perfect time to drop everything you are familiar with, step out of your comfort zone, go somewhere new, and see something different – all while learning about your major from an entirely new perspective. Until I studied abroad, I never truly realized the scope of opportunities we have available to us in the world. You never know what opportunities for internships, networking, or future employment could emerge from a semester abroad. And most importantly, I have NEVER heard anyone say they regretted studying abroad. So check it out, do some research, ask some questions, and see if it’s for you. What have you got to lose?
The Next Steps
1. Attend a Study Abroad 101 session. See the schedule at: http://cals.cornell.edu/academics/international/resources/advising/
2. Decide whether you are interested in CALS exchange or Cornell Abroad.
3. If CALS Exchange, schedule a meeting in 140 Roberts Hall by calling 607-255-2257 or by following: http://cals.cornell.edu/academics/advising/career/
4. If Cornell Abroad, meet with a peer-advisor in 250 Caldwell Hall on Monday-Friday from 1:30-3:00 pm in 250 Caldwell Hall.
5. Make your way through the paperwork – persevere and it will get done. The staff in Caldwell and Roberts halls are great help and will ensure you remain on track!
6. ENJOY EVERY MINUTE. Studying abroad was without a doubt the best semester of my Cornell career, but it passes quickly. Enjoy it while it lasts!