If there is one thing I am sure of during these uncertain times, is how resilient the study abroad community is. I frequently tell my students that you can always travel in the future, but the opportunity to study abroad is a completely unique experience. You have students from all kinds of backgrounds and varied travel experiences, coming together to intimately share a few weeks of new experiences together. You rely on your new friends, you operate outside of your comfort zone, you experience new cultures, and you go through more self-reflection than you ever thought was possible.
You will forever belong to a community that understands how transformative study abroad can be. You start to value a number of qualities that you and your new friends seem to have adopted along the way: empathy, courage, adaptability, cultural sensitivity, kindness, ambition, and patience. You have an instant connection with other study abroad alumni regardless of where you studied abroad or how long you were there.
Our IBS Alumni have been using social media to reach out, stay connected, and encourage current students to not give up hope for future study abroad opportunities. Leanna writes, “to anyone whose travel plans and study abroad trips have been canceled, don’t give up hope.” Leanna went on two IBS programs and currently works in marketing for a photo printing company in Denver.
Leanna described her experience in Asia, saying, “Once I joined the group, it was a whirlwind of business tours, exploring cities, and experiencing the culture. I wouldn’t change a single minute of it. And I actively find myself longing to go back.”
Another two-time IBS alumni, Emily from Louisiana writes, “I know a lot of study abroad summer programs had to cancel this year because of the health crisis, but I just wanted to encourage anyone that was considering going, to still go (once it’s safe of course). Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I’ve made professionally while allowing me to fulfill personal goals along the way”.
Emily graduated in 2019 with multiple full-time job offers in accounting. She was always grateful for the opportunities IBS created for her, and she keeps in touch with her friends from her programs to this day.
Peyton wrote, “Seeing all parts of the world has always been one of my top priorities & I encourage everyone to try to see something new once the world has healed.” She is a huge advocate for study abroad and travel, and recently returned home from her newest adventure in Thailand.
We are with you, Peyton. Let’s come together, let the world heal, and focus on taking care of our communities at this time. Check on your friends, family, and your local community. Do your part to stay home and flatten the curve. Take advantage of this downtime to think about your goals and where you may want to travel in the future. Give us some time, and we’ll be traveling again before you know it.