Perhaps one of the biggest challenges and opportunities a Georgia College student can take is studying abroad. For most, this is their first time leaving the United States and spending significant time away from friends and family. For me, I studied in Austria and Germany for 8 months, almost the whole academic year! It opened me to a whole new global perspective and I experienced significant personal growth being confronted with situations that are often not faced by the average American. There were points of anxiety, frustration, and nervousness to obstacles I faced, but ultimately it made me into a better person. The friends and relationships I had while in Europe were perhaps most significant, with many of these individuals guiding me through several situations that I did not know how to personally handle.
The biggest benefit of studying abroad for your professional development is the international experience of engaging with those from other cultures and nationalities. In a rapidly globalizing world, it’s critical to be able to connect with those through interpersonal skills and communication. There were many times that I was confronted with no ability to speak native language (be it Polish, Italian, or Swedish), being forced to communicate via body language and hand gestures. Although it’s sometimes nerve-racking to not be in an English speaking country, this ultimately makes you appreciate your homeland and differences we share per country.
In the end, the decision to study abroad, be it for two weeks or a full year, is a momentous decision that has a lifelong effect. Regardless if you go to Canada or the far reaches of Tibet, it is a tremendous experience. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to be an exchange student in Austria and Germany from Georgia College, my family, and generous support of several scholarship donors!
Alexander Cline – Georgia College Career Peer Advisor
LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexander-cline-13b594b4