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Fill your passports, empty your assumptions

The Gatepost Editorial Board

College is the time to broaden your horizons, experience life outside your hometown, and expose yourself to new cultures.

While these all of these experiences can be fulfilled on campus, a great opportunity to consider is one of the many study abroad programs our University offers.

Through study abroad, students can immerse themselves in entirely new environments and cultures while simultaneously earning course credit at their home institutions.

Chances are, if you talk to other students who have studied in different countries, they’ll say it was the best experience of their life.

But, studying abroad is more than just a four month “vacation” from your university – it truly is the chance of a lifetime.

Depending on the destination you choose, you could be staying with host families and attending college in another part of the world – which grants the space to grow as a student, person and change your cultural mindset.

Additionally, the education you receive abroad places a more diverse perspective on your learning, allowing you to grow as a student more than you otherwise would if you remained in Framingham during the entirety of your college career.

The best part of it all?

It may be more affordable than you think.

Expanding your horizons doesn’t have to mean emptying your wallet. With careful budgeting, just about anyone can take a trip abroad – and FSU o?ers a variety of resources to help along the way.

From scholarships to school loans and grants, FSU has the resources to help students a?ord their dream semester abroad.

FSU offers foreign exchange programs with the same cost as if you lived at Framingham State for a semester – but instead of getting stuck in the elevators in Towers, you could be surfing in Thailand or hiking in Nepal.

There are also outside organizations and programs that provide the ability to travel in groups or with other local students, if you wish to plan your trip individually or with friends who do not attend the same university as you.

The benefits of studying abroad are worth the cost. Traveling provides the freedom to take unique courses, gain career experience, and engage in communities that would otherwise not be accessible near Framingham.

It also provides the opportunity to study a foreign language in the local area. The chance to gain fluency in a foreign language, which is life-changing in its own right, is consistently ranked as a valuable skill by employers.

The chance to interact and meet a vast range of people around the world is unlike any other, and will open your mind to understanding that the world is much bigger than our small Framingham bubble.

Whether it’s studying fashion design in Milan or marine biology in Belize, the possibilities of learning are endless, and can be personalized to your unique needs and interests.

According to the University of California Merced, 96% of students who studied abroad gained increased self-confidence after their trip, 89% “reported that study abroad facilitated a greater tolerance for ambiguity,” and 97% felt more mature.

Living abroad encourages you to step outside your comfort zone in an unfamiliar place.

It makes difficult situations that you leave behind in Massachusetts seem much smaller in the grand scheme of things.

It provides students with the ability to connect with future employers and friends from all over the world.

If you are considering learning abroad, we encourage you to reach out to the Study Abroad department to discuss what resources are available to you.

With nearly 200 students from FSU who participated in the study abroad program last year, there will also be a fellow traveler around to share one in a lifetime experiences with.

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