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Archive for November 17th, 2012

This past week was International Education Week (Nov. 12-16)- a week dedicated to demonstrating the importance of studying abroad  and going international.

International Education Week means a lot to me because going abroad changed my life and I do not know who I would have been today had I not gone abroad.  With that said, I highly encourage everyone to study abroad at least once in their lives- you will learn so much and open your mind.

Every day, I am thankful to CIEE, The Korea Foundation, NSLI-Y, iEARN, YesInternational, and the Department of State for giving me the opportunity to have the experiences of a lifetime.  Without the support of these organizations, I would not have been able to go out of my bounds and into a new and unfamiliar culture.

The impact of my experiences is beyond words.  I started out going to South Korea because of curiosity and desire to go somewhere, ANYWHERE.  But that changed within a couple of days of being in South Korea- I quickly became interested in the culture and the people.  By the end of my stay, I had fostered a passion for learning about the relationship between the North and the South.  The second time I traveled to SK, I was prepared to study and learn everything about South Korea- I hoped to gain a true understanding of the country.  And now, I continue to study Korean on my own.  Why?  So that I can help defectors.  I will talk about this in a separate post because the issue deserves its own… but that’s my ultimate goal.

Can you believe that curiosity turned into compassion?  THIS is the impact of my study abroad.  Everyone will have different experiences and meet different people… but these will shape who you are and open your mind to a new level that you do not know you are capable of.

So… do it.  Study abroad and go international.  After all, the celebration of this week is to encourage more people to think beyond by opening themselves up to the world out there.  You will be impacted differently from me, but that’s what makes each and every one of us unique.

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