Studying Abroad: The Benefits of Spending a Semester Away

By Abby Wargo
Student Life Editor

For many students, one of the most exciting opportunities college has to offer is its study abroad programs. In order for Washington College students to go abroad, planning ahead is key, according to Alex Levy, the study abroad coordinator at the Global Education Office.

“Practically, every career path is becoming increasingly international, so having a study abroad experience on your resume gives you a leg-up on the job market,” Levy said.

As well as giving students a leg up professionally, living outside the U.S. also has more personalized benefits.

“Living and traveling abroad expands your horizons, stretches your comfort zone, and allows for personal, education, and professional growth. Students gain independence and confidence when studying abroad,” Levy said.

Currently, the WC program offers 30 programs in 24 different countries. A recent addition to the list is Peking University in Bejing, China. Levy said that this is the first study abroad program for WC students on China’s mainland.

According to GEO statistics, there are 29 WC students abroad during the fall 2017 semester. Ten of those students are remaining abroad for the spring semester. For the spring 2018 semester, 22 more students will go abroad to make 32 students total abroad in 16 different countries. For the 2017-18 school year, 51 students will be studying outside the U.S.

Nationwide, study abroad programs have experienced negative trends over the last few years. This year is a positive indication for WC’s program.

“It was particularly difficult for WC because our office was understaffed and then went through several transitions from 2015-2017,” Levy said. “Now, however, we have a fully staffed office and are working hard to make sure all WC students are aware of the opportunities they have to study abroad.”

A common misconception is that only certain majors are able to study abroad, but that is not the case. With a little extra planning, any student could make a semester abroad work in their schedule.

“For some majors, studying abroad is an obvious fit, such as modern languages or political science, but for others it requires more thought and effort. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what your major is. WC and the Global Education Office are here to help you make the most out of your college experience, which includes international opportunities,” Levy said.

To study abroad, students must apply by the beginning of the semester prior to when they would like to go. The third Friday of the semester is the general due date.

Applications can be completed online through the new study abroad website,

Applications consist of a questionnaire, a short essay, two letters of recommendation, a transcript, and a deposit to the Business Office.

“Expanding your world view to understand different peoples and cultures is incredibly important, maybe now more than ever, as it allows you to connect with others and see a situation from a different side. It’s a transformative experience that I think helps all people become global citizens, which is part of WC’s mission statement,” Levy said.

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