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Supplement to “The World is Your Classroom”

Gabriele Bosley, director of International Programs at Bellarmine University, offers these tips to students preparing to go abroad:

  • Approach the experience with an open mind. “To some extent you must shed your ‘Americanness,’” she says. “We as Americans tend to judge things against an American standard, but to get the most of a host culture, we must be willing to observe it on its own terms and merits, as one of a number of equally complex world views.”
  • If traveling to a non-English-speaking country, make every effort to speak the language. Don’t fall back on English, even if the locals understand it.
  • Do not stay in constant e-mail or phone contact with friends and family. “It’s important to leave as much behind as possible,” Bosley says, in order to fully appreciate the experiences of the host culture.
  • If possible, choose international programs that allow for individualized study and direct enrollment in foreign universities as exchange students for one to two semesters. These are the programs, Bosley says, that best allow a student to grow by immersing himself or herself in the foreign culture, rather than those in which large groups of American students travel together.

To read the Kentucky Living September 2005 feature that goes along with this supplement, click here: The World is Your Classroom

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