Study Abroad Motivations: Family Ties, Major Studies, Language and More

By Purnell T. Cropper | November 19, 2010

By Jordyn Austin ’14

It is no secret that many students attend Arcadia University with a strong desire to take advantage of the University’s numerous international resources, most especially the study abroad programs. And with the top rating of undergraduate participation in study abroad in the country (according to Open Doors 2010), it appears that students are not shying away from these opportunities either.

But how does one go about taking the best advantage of these many opportunities? What can one expect when studying abroad?

These questions and more were answered by recent study abroad returnees at the Study Away Fair, held on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at in The Chat Performance Area. Numerous countries were represented and refreshments were served.

According to Jamie Snyder ’11, a recent returnee from South Africa, “The thing with Arcadia is that they make it really easy to go abroad… which is really cool.”

Julia Sandrock ’11, voiced similar sentiments when speaking about her Spring 2010 semester spent at the Ewha Women’s University in South Korea and a past semester spent in Barcelona, Spain.

While all participants agreed on the success of their trips and the ease and benefit of studying abroad with Arcadia, individual motivations to visit certain countries varied from student to student. Some, such as Sandrock, chose their country because of family and cultural ties. “My mother is from Seoul,” she states, “So it was an amazing experience and really personal. I met members of my family that I did not even know I had and learned a lot about the culture.”

Others, such as Alyssa Ramos-Neynoso ’12, who spent a semester in Tanzania, picked a general region, then focused in on a country after doing some research. “I chose Tanzania because I loved the history. It’s a fascinating country; it has 128 different tribes that all live in relative peace,” she gushes, “It was such an interesting case study. I just knew that I wanted to find out more.”

Still other students, including Snyder and Maggie Lyons ’12, selected countries related to certain disciplines they were studying at Arcadia.

“I chose South Africa because I’m a Sociology major,” states Snyder, “I had gone to London for FYSAE, and wanted to go some place different. I chose South Africa because it’s beautiful, has great history, and seemed to relate to my major well.”

Lyons, who studied for her Spring 2010 semester in Paris, France, adds, “I loved it. I loved the experiences, the culture, the food, the arts, even just walking down the street and listening to the sounds.” Lyons had been studying French for about four or five years prior to her trip, but explained that study abroad was the experience that best introduced her to the language and the culture. “My favorite part was the language program,” she added, “I loved having the opportunity to learn French in French.”

Watch for weekly study away information sessions being held at the beginning of next semester.