Mandatory study away can benefit college students

NYU’s Washington Square admissions site mentions the benefits that come with living in a city so full of different cultures and communities. Beyond New York, though, students also have the opportunity to study away at portal campuses spread across six continents.

These opportunities allows students to live in one of 13 different countries as they work toward their degrees. Such an opportunity is unparalleled. Given that the cost of living is almost always cheaper abroad than in New York and that exposure to foreign cultures has undeniable benefits, NYU should make spending a semester at an abroad site mandatory for all students who live
on campus.

Studying away has both professional and personal benefits. Students who have traveled are seen as more well-rounded, and speaking a second or third language can significantly boost career prospects — a feat more easily accomplished through immersion than in a classroom.Choosing to live in a different country also shows adaptability and a desire to
challenge oneself.

NYU’s international student population currently stands around 16 percent. These are the students who already have experience living in a foreign country, and almost all of them can attest to the benefits of living in a different country. NYU should take steps to imbue a higher percentage of their student body with this sort of world experience.

The university has gone to great lengths to assure that those who study away are supported throughout their experiences, guaranteeing housing and assistance in securing passports and visas. They should do more and provide housing scholarships for commuter students.

International travel can be expensive, and students are less likely to do it after graduating when they pursue careers or start families.
Given that students at NYU are already paying tuition, there are fewer logistic obstacles to spending the semester in a foreign country. Students in Global Liberal Studies or the combined Global Public Health program are already required to spend at least one semester abroad, so there is very little reason not to expand this requirement to other programs since all student degrees benefit from a
worldly perspective.

Mark Twain is thought to have written, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.” Students who study abroad distinguish themselves as having received a more rounded education than those who choose to remain in one spot. Even international students who already technically study away stand to benefit from spending part of their formative years in foreign countries, particularly those with cultures different
from the United States.

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