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### Is Pursuing Higher Education Overseas Beneficial?

World travel is a coveted luxury desired by individuals worldwide. While some are fortunate enough to embark on unforgettable journeys to foreign destinations, many of us content ourselves with creating travel-inspired mood boards on Pinterest.

College students often encounter challenges when pursuing their travel aspirations. Financial constraints, academic commitments, and various personal factors frequently hinder their plans.

For financially struggling college students, there is hope to transform those mood boards into reality by exploring the exceptional opportunities offered at the Learning Abroad Center (LAC) at the University of Minnesota.

Ann Hubbard, the LAC’s assistant dean and director, emphasizes the importance of understanding the financial aid options available for students contemplating a study abroad experience. The University provides robust support and guidance to help students explore all possible avenues for funding their international studies.

While the scholarships offered by the LAC are competitive, there are numerous financial aid resources, including program-specific scholarships and national funding opportunities, accessible to all students. Hubbard encourages students facing financial concerns to reach out to the LAC for assistance.

Sharing a personal anecdote, I recently undertook a three-week study program in Cuernavaca, Mexico, which not only fulfilled my language requirements but also enriched my academic journey. Despite initial financial apprehensions, I discovered affordable short-term programs that made this transformative experience achievable.

Michael Wiltgen, a fourth-year finance major, reflects on his enriching two-week study program in Europe, highlighting the invaluable insights gained and the diverse cultural encounters that broadened his perspectives.

Statistics from the LAC Annual Report 2022-23 reveal that a significant percentage of students have participated in study programs across various regions, with Europe being the most popular destination. However, efforts are underway to promote programs in non-European countries to encourage a more diverse range of experiences.

Ashley Metz, a program advisor at the LAC, draws from her extensive international experiences to advocate for exploring less-traveled destinations. The LAC’s dedicated staff ensures on-site support for students throughout their study abroad journeys.

Recognizing the potential mental health challenges associated with studying abroad, the LAC offers valuable resources to help students prepare for and navigate these experiences effectively. It is essential for students to be aware of the mental health support available both during and after their time abroad.

While studying abroad may not be feasible for every student at the moment, I strongly urge seizing the opportunity if it arises. The enriching experiences and personal growth that come from studying abroad are truly unparalleled.