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Opinion | Miami’s study abroad programs crucial to student experience

Published: Monday, November 26, 2012

Updated: Monday, November 26, 2012 22:11

The Institute of International Education recently ranked Miami University as the no. 1 public school for percentage of students studying abroad. More than 40 percent of Miami’s students study abroad by graduation, and Miami has a goal of increasing this to more than 50 percent.

The Miami Student editorial board reflects this growing statistic, as most of us have either already studied abroad or plan to do so in the coming semesters. We believe that Miami is in a unique position regarding its study abroad opportunities.

The university’s Office of International Education works diligently to show students the cultural and personal benefits of academic traveling, rather than emphasizing the benefits of the university itself. Students are told to go abroad not for resumes or to increase Miami’s statistics, but instead to broaden each individual’s horizons.

Many of Miami’s students can also afford to go abroad. With Miami’s campus in Luxembourg and various scholarship and travel grant opportunities available, tuition can be similar to that of a semester in Oxford. We applaud the university’s continuous efforts to make study abroad experiences feasible for as many students as possible.

We believe that travel is crucial for people our age, and we encourage students leaving next semester for international education realize the value of this experience.

The editorial board is aware that some of this advice is cliché, but we would like to remind students to appreciate this exciting opportunity as much as possible. Research the histories and political situations of the places you’re going before you board your flight. Go beyond visiting the touristy attractions; get the authentic, cultural experience. The world is much more than the collegiate playground of old scenery that some students make it out to be. Anywhere you go has a rich history and culture, and an integral part of the study abroad experience is learning from this history and culture.

Finally, remember that this experience helps you grow not only as a student, but as a person. You have a great chance to learn about yourself, and another culture. But also you have the chance to educate others about what Americans are really like. Don’t immediately say no to a new food or a new custom. Represent the U.S. and Miami University well by appreciating all this experience has to offer.

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