OPINION | The global advantage: how study abroad can enhance your learning

Photo from the Utah Tech study abroad group in Japan from March 2023 through August 2023. Three of the people in the photo are students at Utah Tech University, whereas the others are students from Taiwan. Photo courtesy of Madi Andersen

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Imagine walking around a city and hearing music that is local to Scotland or sitting down for a yummy cup of coffee at a cafe in Italy. Even better, imagine getting college credit for it.

The three different study abroad programs offered at Utah Tech University vary from a 10-day trip to a full year experience. All three programs have received amazing reviews from its students and have a continuous flow of students wanting the chance to participate. I agree with what some students say about this experience. The university is doing a great job with this program, but its diversity could be improved.

Doing the study abroad program is something on my bucket list. Everything that I have read about makes it seem absolutely amazing. Traveling around the world and getting college credits for it? Yes, please. 

Utah Tech does a great job of providing a variety of options for students interested in studying abroad. Each study abroad destination is designed for students, such as nursing in Costa Rica or population health in Uganda.

A new possible opportunity that the university should consider is to offer these destinations for more than one program at a time. For example, the destination for Ireland this year is aimed more at students in the sports management and medicine program. It would be interesting and more inclusive if this destination was also open to history students. This would allow both the history and sports management students the opportunity to learn what Ireland has to offer.

While it would increase the cost of the trip, it is a beneficial opportunity for more students to experience study abroad.

Utah Tech offers some helpful financial aid opportunities. Students can meet with a financial aid adviser and make a plan to save money throughout the fall and spring semesters. This can help students financially prepare for study abroad programs.

The other opportunity the school offers for study abroad is the High Impact Practices Scholarship. It is an opportunity for students taking at least 12 credits and maintaining a 3.0 GPA to earn up to $500 a year to put toward the study abroad program.

This financial aid option shows how Utah Tech supports students in participating as much as they can, and is an opportunity for students who aren’t able to make enough money to join the study abroad program.

Overall, the study abroad program should be more widely promoted around campus and among prospective students. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students who choose to attend.