Is there a particular country or culture that really excites you? Do you love meeting new people, exploring new places, and need a change in your classroom structure? Do you like a challenge?
As you work to earn an undergraduate degree, you should take the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study abroad!
As you begin to consider what studying abroad could actually mean for you, you may have very mixed feelings. Your head might already be filled with questions and doubts, or maybe your eyes immediately lit up and your heart rate elevated at the thought of what a semester in another part of the world could look like.
Whichever side of the spectrum you are on, we asked two Simpson individuals a little bit about their experiences abroad. Allison (class of ’16) studied in Brisbane, Australia, at Christian Heritage College. Derek (current Simpson student) went to Washington, D.C. for the American Studies Program. While both students had very different experiences, each took back valuable information on studying abroad.
Some may think that staying in your own country is not considered “abroad”, but traveling from one end of the nation to the other sure can feel like a new country. When asked why Derek chose D.C., he said, “I went to take a semester and challenge my ability to be a professional in the workplace and to see God working in our political system at our Nation’s Capital. I felt called by the Lord to take this leap of faith and trust that he would grow me as a Christian believer in this world and to show me what my role as a servant leader looks like.”
Allison and Derek were asked to share their favorite aspects of their semesters. Allison responded by saying, “Honestly, I loved it all! The opportunity to travel, live with a host family, and be immersed in their culture! I was able to go to Sydney, the Outback, the Barrier Reef, and Melbourne! I also spent a few weeks after the program in New Zealand!”
“My favorite part of the semester was the opportunity to work alongside some of our greatest leaders in this nation and experience what life looks like working for an international non-profit who focuses on serving others,” Derek said, “I met a lot of very amazing people and even had the wonderful opportunity to do client work, where I built a strategic communication plan for their organization and member organizations.”
Traveling to an unfamiliar land on your own can bring its own challenges and difficulties. “The most challenging thing was definitely some personal losses back home, and learning to cope without the comfort of people I really knew. It was a huge growing experience,” Allison reminisced. Derek responded by saying, “All in all it was a very challenging semester, but I definitely learned a lot about myself and my place in this world. I think the most challenging thing for me was trying to see how faith works in our political system when things just feel so fast paced and all about human power. I believe God is present in every way in D.C, but sometimes it is hard to see what his plan is when we are faced with political decisions of power.”
What advice might Allison and Derek have for students considering studying abroad? Allison commented, “Take the opportunities to do it!! Go places, meet people and don't be nervous to strike up a conversation. Meet people who are traveling in the same country as you and also meet the locals and do things that they recommend. It's such an experience of learning and growing that you can't replace!”
“I would say ‘trust God, and allow him to show you your path.’ God has wonderful plans for all of our lives and doing an experience like ASP really helped to show me that God is with me each step of the way. I gave up a lot of things to do this program, but it was worth EVERY experience, and every penny that I had to spend. God uses experiences like this to help shape our vision and even our calling in this world. Trust him and let him lead your wonderful life.” – Derek
To wrap up, we asked Allison and Derek if they would go on their trips again. They both responded with a resounding “YES!”
If you love to travel and surround yourself with new environments, opportunities, knowledge, and experiences, consider taking a semester to study abroad!