Studying abroad offers students a unique learning experience

Students can choose to study abroad in various locations in Europe. (Courtesy of Not on the High Street)

Veronica Cashman
Connector Contributor

UMass Lowell pledges to prepare its students for real world experiences and looks to follow through on its mission through extensive and successful study abroad programs.

The Office of International Experiences and Study Abroad offers over 1,400 program opportunities for sophomore, junior and senior students of all majors to take advantage of throughout their time at UMass Lowell. Students can travel for as little three weeks up to an entire year through partner-led, faculty-led and even exchange programs.

“I highly encourage every student who’s considering studying abroad to do it. This opportunity is unique and expensive, but absolutely worth it,” said Malinda Reed, an English and history double major who spent three weeks in Cadiz, Spain studying Spanish. “If you’re independent and interested in travel to learn through immersion, then study abroad is the perfect fit for you.”

Finances seem to be the biggest hindrance for students seeking to travel internationally. However, the Office of Study Abroad reassures that the university does provide both financial aid and scholarship possibilities for students who qualify.

“It is perceivable that a student could go abroad for an entire semester and pay the equivalent or sometimes even less than a full semester at UMass Lowell,” says Fern MacKinnon, the director of the Office of Study Abroad. “There are both internal and external opportunities for scholarships and there is a list of all of these on our website.”

With the university willing to assist many of its students, they are now able to focus on reaping all of the benefits these programs have to offer, including the unique atmospheres students otherwise would not be able to experience.

“My overall experience with the program was great. I was able to see a lot of different things throughout London, which is packed with history,” said Erik Dane, a graphic design major who completed a summer course in England for studio art credits.

“My greatest takeaway from the trip was going to an unfamiliar place and exploring all the different things it has to offer,” Dane said. “It was such an enriching experience that I think everyone should experience once in their lifetime.”

The Office of International Experiences and Study Abroad encourage students to expand their worldviews and intercultural relationships that they believe will assist them in the long run.

“Employers value students who can work interculturally and understand how to work with people who have different perspectives and different cultural backgrounds,” Mackinnon said. “Going abroad, you certainly learn how to be independent and work with others in a scenario that may be unfamiliar to them, which is very applicable to the workforce.”

Students who have previously participated in these programs say that it is an investment worthwhile and one which they will never regret.

“Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s an experience that broadens your perspective, challenges you to step out of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in a new environment. The people, food and places are unforgettable” said Reed.

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