Why Study Abroad?
Last year I studied in The Netherlands and now that I’m home, I find myself constantly promoting the experience. I incessantly recommend my friends live over seas; I volunteer on campus to promote international programs; and now, I’m even writing an article promoting it.
But why is it that I want to promote American students to study abroad? Is it that I am still living in the past, trying to somehow relive my life in Europe? Well, probably in part. But more importantly, my urge to get students to go abroad comes from the realization that we as Americans have a great deal to learn—not just of, but also—from, the world.
Elliot Gersen recently gave a speech at the Global Scholars Symposium that became an article in The Atlantic, “To Make America Great Again, We Need to Leave the Country“. As a recent returnee, the article resonated with me.
In the article, Dr. Gersen asserts that the value of American students studying abroad will come “not just from greater global consciousness, but from the direct experience that many nations simply do many things far better than we do.”
What he says is true statistically, as well as in practice. As an American student studying in Northern Europe I was importuned with questions as to why America is the way it is. “Why does one of the wealthiest countries in the world have so many poor people?” I heard more than once. I even found myself jealous of other students; “Are you serious? Your Government pays you to go to University?” I said to Dutch students incredulously, as my debt accrued silently.
It’s not that I never realized the magnitude of America’s problems. I live in what is arguably the most left-leaning, anti-nationalistic pocket of the entire United States. I’m enrolled in a liberal University that, above all, prides itself on its Ethnic Studies department. I mean…we don’t even celebrate Columbus Day here.
But anti-American cynicism by itself usually leads nowhere. By intermingling with students from countries that are more prosperous—economically, socially, or both—statistics come to life. It has a great humbling effect.
Upon my return to the US I found myself less cynical. It’s not that the world is messed up and there’s no way around it. I know a better America is possible because I saw examples of more prosperous countries with my own two eyes. It is this humbling that I feel American university students need to undergo.
In what some people are calling the Post America Era, a fundamental shift in how the American youth views the world is necessary. It is the duty of a country’s young citizens to keep the country moving forward: technologically, politically, and intellectually. As youth, we have no bearing on what our country was, we can only have an effect on what it will be.
It boils down to the fact that you cannot recognize how you think until you remove yourself from those who think like you. By undergoing the transformative experience that is studying in another country, you are preparing for a necessary shift in American thought—an intellectual standpoint of humility. You become a student of the world, ready to admit that France has better a healthcare system or that Denmark has a better education system. And hopefully, ready to act upon it.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s humility did not stem from any weakness. Once when a child asked Him why all the rivers of the earth flow into the ocean, He said, ‘because it sets itself lower than them all and so draws them to itself.’
(Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)
Apply to Write for Uloop NewsJoin the Uloop News Team
Discuss This Article
More Uloop Campus Life Articles
SF STATE STUDENT TRAVEL LISTINGSSee all SF STATE Student Travel Listings
SF STATE Student Travel Listings
WRITE FOR ULOOPApply to Write for Uloop News
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
TOP 5 NEWS ARTICLES
BROWSE OTHER COLLEGES
- By CollegeUC Santa BarbaraCal PolyUC DavisUC IrvineUC San DiegoUC Santa CruzStanford UniversityUCLACal Poly PomonaCSU ChicoCSU FullertonCSU Long BeachCSU NorthridgeCSU SacramentoUC BerkeleyPepperdine UniversitySan Diego StateSan Francisco State UniversitySan Jose State UniversityUSCCalifornia State University-San BernardinoCalifornia State University-FresnoCalifornia State University-Los AngelesUC RiversideCalifornia Institute of TechnologyCalifornia State University-Dominguez HillsCalifornia State University-East BayOccidental CollegeLoyola Marymount UniversityCabrillo CollegeAlliant International UniversityAzusa Pacific UniversityAntelope Valley CollegeBakersfield CollegeBiola UniversityBrooks Institute of PhotographyCalifornia Baptist UniversityClaremont McKenna CollegeCalifornia Pacific UniversityCalifornia State University Monterey BayCuesta CollegeConcordia University IrvineCalifornia State University Channel IslandsDiablo Valley CollegeBethany UniversitySanta Barbara City CollegeFive Branches UniversityWest Valley CollegeWestmont CollegeUC MercedUC Hastings College of the LawPalomar CollegeSaint Mary's CollegeSonoma State UniversitySierra CollegeChapman UniversitySaddleback CollegePacific Union CollegePierce CollegePasadena City CollegeFeather River CollegeCalifornia Culinary AcademyMira Costa CollegeLos Rios Community College DistrictLas Positas CollegeGrossmont CollegeIrvine Valley CollegeMenlo CollegeAllan Hancock CollegeHumboldt State UniversityUniversity of San DiegoUniversity of San FranciscoLoma Linda UniversityFullerton CollegeSanta Clara UniversityChabot CollegeFoothill CollegeNational UniversityButte CollegeAcademy of Art UniversityWhittier CollegeLincoln UniversityMerced CollegeCalifornia State University-BakersfieldSanta Monica CollegeMt. San Jacinto CollegeCoast Community College DistrictRiverside Community CollegeUniversity of the PacificPomona CollegeLa Sierra UniversityScripps Research InstituteDe Anza CollegeGrossmount-Cuyamaca Community CollegeAmerican Intercontinental UniversityArt Center College of DesignCalifornia College of the ArtsCalifornia Institute of Integral StudiesCalifornia Institute of the ArtsCalifornia Lutheran UniversityCSU San MarcosCalifornia State University-StanislausClaremont Graduate UniversityClaremont McKenna CollegeDominican University of CaliforniaEx-Pression College for Digital ArtsFielding Graduate UniversityFresno Pacific UniversityFuller Theological SeminaryGolden Gate UniversityHoly Names UniversityJohn F Kennedy UniversityMills CollegeMount St Mary's CollegeMusicians InstituteNaval Postgraduate SchoolNotre Dame de Namur UniversityOtis College of Art and DesignPacific Oaks CollegePoint Loma Nazarene UniversitySamuel Merritt CollegeSimpson UniversityThe Art Institute of California-Los AngelesThe Art Institute of California-Orange CountyThe Art Institute of California-San DiegoThe Art Institute of California-San FranciscoThe Fashion Institute of Design & MerchandisingThe Master's College and SeminaryUC San FranciscoUniversity of La VerneUniversity of RedlandsVanguard University of Southern CaliforniaPeralta CollegeWestern University of Health SciencesWoodbury UniversityCity College of San FranciscoCalifornia Institute of the Healing Arts and SciencesCypress CollegeEast Los Angeles CollegeLos Angeles City CollegeCollege of MarinOhlone CollegePitzer CollegeSouthern California Institute of ArchitectureScripps CollegeWorld Mission UniversityThe Wright InstituteCerro Coso Community CollegeCollege of the DesertSan Diego City CollegeArgosy UniversityImperial Valley CollegeModesto Junior CollegeShasta CollegeCollege of San MateoCollege of SiskiyousLassen Community CollegeVentura CollegeNewSchool of Architecture + DesignAmerican River College Barstow Community College DistrictBerkeley City College Citrus CollegeCoastline Community College College of Alameda College of the Siskiyous Contra Costa College Contra Costa Community College DistrictCosumnes River College Cuyamaca College El Camino College-Compton Community Ed CenterEvergreen Valley College Fresno City College Glendale Community College (CA)Laney College Long Beach City College Los Angeles Harbor College Los Angeles Mission College Los Angeles Southwest College Los Angeles Trade-Technical CollegeMoorpark College Mt San Antonio College North Orange County Community College DistrictOrange Coast College Palo Verde College Porterville College Reedley College Rio Hondo College Sacramento City College San Diego Community College DistrictSan Diego Mesa College San Diego Miramar College San Joaquin Delta College San Jose City College San Jose-Evergreen Community College DistrictSkyline College Solano Community College South Orange County Community College DistrictState Center Community College DistrictTaft College Ventura County Community College DistrictVictor Valley CollegeWest Hills Community College- CoalingaWest Hills Community College DistrictWest Hills Community College-LemooreWest Los Angeles College Woodland Community College Yosemite Community College DistrictYuba CollegeFashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San DiegoFashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San FranciscoAcademy for Jewish Religion-CaliforniaAcademy for Salon ProfessionalsAcademy of Esthetics and CosmetologyAdvance Beauty CollegeAdvance Beauty Techs AcademyAdvanced Career InstituteAdvanced CollegeAdvanced Computing InstituteAlhambra Beauty CollegeAlliant International University-FresnoAlliant International University-IrvineAlliant International University-Los AngelesAlliant International University-SacramentoAlliant International University-San DiegoAlliant International University-San FranciscoAllied American UniversityAmerican Baptist Seminary of the WestAmerican Beauty CollegeAmerican Career College at St FrancisAmerican Career College-AnaheimAmerican Career College-Long BeachAmerican Career College-Los AngelesAmerican Career College-OntarioAmerican College of HealthcareAmerican College of Traditional Chinese MedicineAmerican Conservatory TheaterAmerican Institute of Massage TherapyAmerican Jewish UniversityAmerican Medical Sciences CenterAngeles InstituteAnnenberg School of NursingAntioch University-Los AngelesArgosy University-San DiegoAshdown College of Health SciencesAsher CollegeAsian American International Beauty CollegeAssociated Technical College-Los AngelesATEP at IVCATI College-NorwalkAvance Beauty CollegeAveda Institute-Los AngelesBaldwin Park Adult & Community EducationBay Area Medical AcademyBay Area Medical Academy - San Jose Satellite LocationBeaumont Adult SchoolBellus Academy-El CajonBellus Academy-National CityBellus Academy-PowayBethel Seminary-San DiegoBethesda UniversityBeyond 21st Century Beauty AcademyBlake Austin CollegeBlake Austin College Beauty AcademyBrand CollegeCalifornia Beauty SchoolCalifornia Career CollegeCalifornia Career InstituteCalifornia Christian CollegeCalifornia College San DiegoCalifornia Hair Design AcademyCalifornia Healing Arts CollegeCalifornia Miramar UniversityCalifornia Nurses Educational InstituteCalifornia Western School of LawCambridge Junior College-WoodlandCambridge Junior College-Yuba CityCanada CollegeCareer Academy of BeautyCareer Care InstituteCareer College of CaliforniaCareer Development Institute IncCareer Networks InstituteCarrington College-Citrus HeightsCarrington College-PomonaCarrington College-SacramentoCarrington College-San JoseCarrington College-San LeandroCasa Loma College-Anaheim CampusCasa Loma College-Van NuysCentral California SchoolCentral Coast CollegeCerritos CollegeCES CollegeCET-CoachellaCET-El CentroCET-OxnardCET-SacramentoCET-San BernardinoCET-San DiegoCET-Santa MariaCET-SobratoCET-SoledadCET-WatsonvilleCharles A Jones Career and Education CenterCharles R Drew University of Medicine and ScienceCharter College-Canyon CountryChurch Divinity School of the PacificCinta Aveda InstituteClaremont School of TheologyClovis Adult EducationCoachella Valley Beauty CollegeCoachella Valley Beauty College-BeaumontCoast Career InstituteCoastline Beauty CollegeCogswell CollegeColeman UniversityCollege of the CanyonsCollege of the RedwoodsCollege of the SequoiasColton-Redlands-Yucaipa Regional Occupational ProgramColumbia College-HollywoodComputer Training AcademyComputer Tutor Business and Technical InstituteConcorde Career College-Garden GroveConcorde Career College-North HollywoodConcorde Career College-San BernardinoConcorde Career College-San DiegoCopper Mountain Community CollegeCosmo Beauty AcademyCosmo Factory Cosmetology AcademyCrafton Hills CollegeCRU InstituteDesign Institute of San DiegoDiamond Beauty CollegeDominican School of Philosophy & TheologyDongguk University-Los AngelesDowney Adult SchoolElite Cosmetology SchoolEverest College-AlhambraEverest College-AnaheimEverest College-City of IndustryEverest College-GardenaEverest College-ResedaEverest College-West Los AngelesFashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-Orange CountyFederico Beauty InstituteFlair Beauty CollegeFolsom Lake CollegeFour-D CollegeFranciscan School of TheologyFredrick and Charles Beauty CollegeFremont CollegeGalaxy Medical CollegeGavilan CollegeGemological Institute of America-CarlsbadGolden Gate University-Los AngelesGolden Gate University-Silicon ValleyGolden State College of Court ReportingGrace Mission UniversityGraduate Theological UnionGurnick Academy of Medical ArtsHacienda La Puente Adult EducationHair California Beauty AcademyHeald College-ConcordHeald College-ModestoHeald College-RosevilleHeald College-SalinasHeald College-San JoseHeald College-StocktonHigh Desert Medical CollegeHilltop Beauty SchoolHinton Barber CollegeHomestead SchoolsHorizon UniversityHumphreys College-ModestoHumphreys College-Stockton and Modesto CampusesHypnosis Motivation InstituteInfoTech Career CollegeInstitute for Business and TechnologyInstitute of Technology IncIntegrity College of HealthInterCoast Colleges-BurbankInterCoast Colleges-CarsonInterCoast Colleges-Elk GroveInterCoast Colleges-FairfieldInterCoast Colleges-OrangeInterCoast Colleges-RosevilleInterior Designers InstituteInternational College of CosmetologyInternational Culinary Center-CaliforniaInternational Polytechnic InstituteInternational School of Beauty IncInternational Technological UniversityITT Technical Institute-ConcordITT Technical Institute-CoronaITT Technical Institute-Culver CityITT Technical Institute-LathropITT Technical Institute-OaklandITT Technical Institute-OxnardITT Technical Institute-Rancho CordovaITT Technical Institute-San DimasITT Technical Institute-SylmarITT Technical Institute-TorranceJohn Wesley International Barber and Beauty CollegeKaplan College-BakersfieldKaplan College-ModestoKaplan College-North HollywoodKaplan College-Palm SpringsKaplan College-RiversideKaplan College-SacramentoKaplan College-VistaLaguna College of Art and DesignLawrence & Company College of CosmetologyLe Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-PasadenaLeMelange Academy of HairLife Chiropractic College WestLife Pacific CollegeLos Angeles CenterLos Angeles College of MusicLos Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied HealthLos Angeles ORT College-Los Angeles CampusLos Angeles ORT College-Van Nuys CampusLu Ross AcademyLyles Bakersfield College of BeautyLyles Fresno College of BeautyMadera Beauty CollegeMake-up DesignoryManchester Beauty CollegeMarinello School of Beauty-BakersfieldMarinello School of Beauty-Castro ValleyMarinello School of Beauty-ChicoMarinello School of Beauty-FresnoMarinello School of Beauty-HaywardMarinello School of Beauty-MurrietaMarinello School of Beauty-NapaMarinello School of Beauty-PalmdaleMarinello School of Beauty-ReddingMarinello School of Beauty-ResedaMarinello School of Beauty-San BernardinoMarinello School of Beauty-San MateoMarinello School of Beauty-San RafaelMarinello School of Beauty-StocktonMarinello School of Beauty-WhittierMarinello Schools of Beauty-BellMarinello Schools of Beauty-City of IndustryMarinello Schools of Beauty-HemetMarinello Schools of Beauty-Huntington BeachMarinello Schools of Beauty-Lake ForestMarinello Schools of Beauty-LomitaMarinello Schools of Beauty-Los AngelesMarinello Schools of Beauty-Moreno ValleyMarinello Schools of Beauty-ParamountMarinello Schools of Beauty-Santa ClaraMarinello Schools of Beauty-Simi ValleyMarinello Schools of Beauty-VictorvilleMarinello Schools of Beauty-VisaliaMarshall B Ketchum UniversityMarymount California UniversityMarymount University - Waterfront CampusMayfield CollegeMediaTech Institute-OceansideMedical Allied Career CenterMendocino CollegeMerritt CollegeMiami Ad School-San FranciscoMilan Institute of Cosmetology-FairfieldMilan Institute of Cosmetology-VisaliaMilan Institute-MercedMilan Institute-Palm DesertMission CollegeModern Technology SchoolMoler Barber CollegeMonterey Institute of International StudiesMonterey Peninsula College
- By State
- By City