Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Study Abroad Enriches Learning Experience for Latino Students

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Study Abroad Enriches Learning Experience for Latino Students

Article excerpt

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. - Saint Augustine

Study abroad is a trip. With our own rich history and diversity, many Latino students make ideal candidates for internationally based study through a college or university. Younger Latino students preparing for higher education can set their sights and build their enthusiasm by knowing the options and possibilities - including study abroad - available to them in a university. Years ago, international study was an opportunity in higher education afforded by few, but it is now an option available to many students, with scholarships accepted as payment and credits fully transferable. With planning and support, Latino students in higher education can make international travel and study abroad a meaningful part of their learning experience. And preparing for it early - or studying abroad through some high school programs - helps.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of those who study abroad is an expanded firsthand experience of other parts of the world, away from the familiar. By traveling and living in a foreign place with the structure and support that a study abroad program provides, a student's local perspective can become a global view overnight. That wider perspective naturally results in the student's academic growth, personal development, and appreciation of home.

Study abroad also allows an American student to understand another country's view of the United States. While national media and education stateside are often U.S.-centric, listening to the media in other countries quickly reveals that others do not necessarily hold the same opinions that many Americans hold, especially regarding the United States. That awareness can be a seismic hit to the personal perspective of any student and is huge step in global understanding. It also provides the study abroad student the opportunity to dispel negative stereotypes of Americans to others in the host country by allowing people to get to know them and learn about the United States. Meanwhile, Latino students from the United States must confront their own stereotypes about the host country, reformulating their views of others as they get to know them.

Latino students can also explore their own heritage via study abroad. Even if a student has traveled to his family's homeland, living there as a student for an extended urne allows the Hispanic student to experience a wider slice of fife firsthand while about his heritage, customs, tradition and history. …

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