IA Reflection #1: Non-IA

I attended the Education Abroad Expo on September 4th. When walking into the event, the expo was a little overwhelming. I did not know which booth to approach at first, but I was able to direct myself to the tables beneficial to me according to the signs. I was a little skeptical, thinking that this wouldn’t help me that much, but I actually gained a lot of knowledge and encouraged me to research more opportunities regarding education abroad.

Even though I was able to obtain useful information, one thing that discouraged me during the event was the limited opportunities I have access to due to my major. There were various opportunities for language and humanities majors, but there weren’t booths specifically for STEM majors. There were a few research opportunities, but the only credits I could use from the experience were GE credits as a biomedical engineering major. However, since I was thinking about adding a humanities minor like human rights or peace studies, this was helpful for me in some way. I could kill two birds with one stone by fulfilling majority of the courses for the minor and studying abroad.

Also, there were some short-term opportunities like the Global May Program, which was the most realistic program for me if I don’t want it to interfere with my projected graduation date. Even though there’s a very slim chance that I’ll be able to pursue these, there were other programs that caught my eye as well. There was a program where you get on a boat and travel around the world. You spend a couple months on a boat while taking classes. The boat stops by more than 10 spots around the world, letting students travel and explore while taking their courses for school. I thought this was unique and fun even though I would be a little worried about getting sea sick. If I could fit this program into my schedule and find a course I can use for my studies, I would definitely consider this opportunity.

Studying abroad is something I really want to pursue. It’s an exceptional opportunity that you can only experience during your collegiate time. It would broaden my views, let me interact wider range of people, experience other cultures, and overall be a fun experience. Out of all the programs, the Global May Program is what caught my interest. I think the time might be a little too short, but would be enough for me to get a good insight in the country. It would be enough time to let me adjust to the new environment while not allowing me to get homesick.

Something else I started thinking about after the expo is how I can incorporate the study abroad experience with internships or co-ops. If I can work for a company outside of US, I would be able to take some components of the study abroad experience to the internship/co-op experience. I want to look more into these opportunities by researching online, attending other expos, or asking my adviser and friends.

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