By Timothy Keene ‘19
Africa, Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe, Middle East, North and South America, the edges of the world are at your fingertips. You may or may not know that the Merrimack Office for Global Education has added 17 new destinations to the list of study abroad programs. I had the pleasure of talking to Dr. Liesl Smith Director of Global Educations about what she called, “new opportunities for a wider range of majors.”
Dr. Smith was very excited to talk with me about the new programs because she feels that students should see how other countries may share similarities as well as the difference when it comes to a student’s educational interests. Dr. Smith also emphasized how students should take time, she stressed not to much time, to soak in the countries culture.
“These new opportunities also come with challenges…” said Dr. Smith, but she continued to say that these challenges should be welcomed as they are learning experiences as well as ways to understand the cultures and customs of other countries and how they impact the major you are studying.
How do you start on the track for a study abroad program? Your first step is to set up a time with your advisor to talk about options. Dr. Smith stressed that throughout this entire process to keep in mind your goals for academics, professional, and personal future. Be wary that some majors at Merrimack require you to be on campus during certain semesters.
Next is to learn about countries that have importance to your major and check the Global Education website to see what countries offer what programs, Dr. Smith talked about different programs and how they can have different courses so when thinking about what countries you like, think about what importance they have to your major and what you can get from the programs all the way down to which courses you will be taking.
A tab on the Office of Flobal Education’s website to keep in mind is the “timelines & deadlines” tab that outlines the important deadlines for application submission. Make sure to be aware of these as the dates are not flexible. The next tab you will see has many resources to further prepare you for success with your chosen program, such as the Cultural Crossing Guide and Cultural Stress and Adjustment.
Hearing about other students’ experiences with study abroad may be one of the best ways to make your decision. The Office of Global Education hosts “Coffee Houses” as a way for program alumni to come and talk about their experiences they had when studying abroad.
There are a vast amount of opportunities in countries around the world through study abroad. Take some time to stop by the Office of Global Education at 23 Rock Ridge Road or email firstname.lastname@example.org to take the first step on your journey.