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### Embarking on an Overseas Educational Journey

Students preparing to embark on their overseas academic journeys often convene with their families for a heartfelt prayer session. (Photo by Riley Fisher)

On January 18, 2024, approximately 40 students bid farewell to the Hunter Welcome Center as they set off for their spring semester study abroad programs.

Departing on Wednesday, these students are headed to Oxford, England, and Montevideo, Uruguay, for a semester filled with enriching experiences. Prior to their departure, a traditional candlelight devotional ceremony was organized, drawing a significant turnout of students and faculty members who gathered to offer prayers and well-wishes for a safe and successful trip. The students are expected to return during finals week.

Opportunities for studying abroad are available to students throughout their college careers, be it during the fall, spring, or summer terms.

Expressing her anticipation, Sarah Schrier, a sophomore majoring in kinesiology pre-occupational therapy from Carrollton, shared, “Studying abroad has always been a dream of mine since middle school. I am thrilled to reside near the serene pastures and immerse myself in a city adorned with stunning architectural marvels.”

While Leipzig, Germany, is typically a sought-after destination for study abroad programs, regrettably, the spring trip to Leipzig had to be called off this year. Initially, four students had enrolled for the Leipzig spring program; however, due to various circumstances, including financial constraints, the program had to be canceled. Nonetheless, this unexpected turn of events paved the way for essential construction work to be carried out at the Leipzig villa.

Despite the challenges associated with fitting a study abroad program into a student’s academic schedule and ensuring its affordability for all, the benefits of studying abroad are manifold.

Mark Barneche, the director of international learning and study abroad, highlighted, “Engagement levels, GPAs, retention rates, and undergraduate degree completion rates tend to be higher among students who participate in study abroad programs. From a student’s perspective, the true essence of the study abroad experience lies in the opportunity to broaden one’s horizons and envision new possibilities for life.”

Studying abroad offers students the chance to learn from individuals in diverse settings, forge enduring bonds with their peers, and often undergo profound spiritual transformations.

Encouraging prospective students to seize the opportunity, Schrier remarked, “For anyone contemplating studying abroad, my advice would be to simply take the leap. The feedback I’ve heard has been overwhelmingly positive.”

For further details on studying abroad, the Center for Careers and Experiential Learning provides dedicated student ambassadors and a team of full-time staff members ready to assist.