Not a Student? You Can Still Study Abroad

When one thinks about study abroad programs, college and high school students often come to mind, but how often does one think about a working professional’s ability to participate in an overseas academic program?

I’m neither a college nor a high school student. I didn’t have a study abroad office to consult, but I was still able to research programs and make the decision to apply to American Councils’ PPD program nearly 6 years after getting my Bachelors.

My personal reasons are specific and complex, but they boil down to a couple broad reasons any working professional should consider before picking up a notebook and pencil again.

Keep on Learning

School isn’t often thought of as an adult’s playground, but for many adults, the daily grind can drag them down. In an effort to break free of the gears constantly turning in the same direction, branching out to learn something new can reclaim our sanity. Not only can it help us rediscover passion potentially lost day to day, it can keep us young and fresh by challenging our assumptions and forcing us to continue to grow.

Champion New Skills

Sure, taking a couple night or online courses can keep your skills fresh, but studying abroad pushes our boundaries in a different way, into less-charted territories. We may not speak the language or know much about the people, so we are presented with opportunities to refine our communication skills and to increase our emotional intelligence. We can better understand our clients, our neighbors, and our coworkers if we step outside our regular routine and study something less ordinary.

Becoming Global

Regardless of political views or the current global political climate, we are becoming a more global economy, and therefore, a more global society. In order for the United States to be better prepared with people who have the skills, experiences, and backgrounds to support our government, our businesses, and public establishments, we need people to have meaningful global experiences that simply cannot be found inside a classroom. We need people to have real, on-the-ground relationship building and learning with other countries. If we strive to meet the global demands, we can potentially change our interactions with other Americans and with other countries, and for the better.

Why shouldn’t a working professional pursue overseas learning? We are equipped with working experience in many sectors across the USA. We have the opportunity to better facilitate a global experience by making connections with what is currently happening in our communities today. Finally, we can make more immediate change once we return to our jobs and our communities as we are already ingrained into our professions and towns and cities.

Not a student? That doesn’t stop you from learning.

By: Samantha Williams

Program: Politics and Public Diplomacy in Contemporary Russia

Term: Summer 2018

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