"[Study abroad] will advance your education. It will expand your sense of possibilities and it will make you more competitive for the jobs of the future. But more importantly it will also show you just how much we all have in common -- no matter where we live in the world."- First Lady Michelle Obama
Celebrate! Celebrar! Euphraino! November is International Education Month at Marygrove College, a celebration of study abroad programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education. “The actual week is November 15-18, but we’re extending it to the entire month because it is so important to us,” said Michelle Cade, MBA, Director of International Programs at Marygrove. “All month long, we’ll embrace the value of our cultural diversity, and get the word out about the many travel opportunities that exist right now for our students.” Why? Study abroad prepares students to become leaders in their chosen fields.
Any student can enhance his or her academic career through study abroad. No matter what the curriculum, international study credit is available for most undergraduate degree programs. “Marygrove’s Office of International Programs was formalized 10 years ago to help students, faculty and staff achieve greater cultural exposure,” Cade says. “Whether you choose to live, visit, intern or volunteer overseas, the Office is your one-stop resource.”
Cade hosted a Study Abroad Fair in October, which outlined some very attractive new travel seminar courses, in addition to the traditional year and semester-long options. “Travel seminars are a way to experience another culture in a shortened period of time,” Cade adds. “It is less disruptive for our non-traditional students with families—they can plan to be away only ten days to two weeks and yet gain a lifetime of cultural understanding.”
This year Marygrove offers three exciting travel seminars to England, Morocco and Ghana. Each trip has a price tag of less than $3,000, which is far less than a commercial travel package costs. Cade stresses that financial aid is available--as well as travel grant scholarships-- for this type of study. “Financial aid can really help offset the costs, and I encourage interested travelers to explore all options…I can get students the forms they need.” Cade says. But hurry, because deadlines for spring and summer travel are November 30. An affordable adventure awaits—all you have to do is sign up. The Office of International Programs will handle the details while you pack your bags. It’s that easy.
Marygrove’s commitment to urban leadership here at home requires greater cultural understanding, and there’s no better way to experience it than through studying abroad. Cade explains how a trip overseas can really make you appreciate your own country, even your own city so much more, let alone the course of study you’ve chosen. Travel exposes you to greater life lessons— culturally, socially, economically-- lessons you can take with you in your respective fields. The travel-savvy Cade beams with pride about her own experience. She speaks French, yet can’t wait to learn another language, and volunteers for a refugee organization here in Detroit. “Once you have given yourself the gift of travel, you have to find ways to give back.” Cade says. “We hope that all of our students return with a greater sense of duty to help their own community, and most importantly, share what they’ve learned with someone else.”
Despite the fact that our world is increasingly interconnected, only 1 percent of enrolled American students study abroad, according to NAFSA: The Association of International Educators. Language fluency may be one deterrent to venturing out. “Someone once said ‘everyone smiles in the same language,’ so don’t let language be a barrier to visiting an important place,” Cade said. Although language study is a great companion to study abroad programs, it is not essential. There are many English language locales to explore, like Ireland or Australia. “We just returned from a very successful Freshman Travel Seminar weekend to Toronto,” Cade adds. An action-packed weekend for new students helped to set the table for academic careers rich with cultural experience.