Buenos Aires, Florence, Paris and Prague may be some of the best vacation spots in the world, but student’s know them as the best sites to study abroad, according to New York University. Studying abroad allows students to immerse themselves in new cultures and languages, all while earning a degree.
Mariah Richards, a Spanish teacher at Leesville Road High School, is one of the many people who has completed her Masters degree through one of these programs. “I always knew that I wanted to study abroad in Spain,” said Richards. “Once I got to college, I started researching different programs.”
After Richards graduated from East Carolina University, she decided she wanted to study abroad to earn her degree. “I knew I wanted to complete my masters in Spanish Linguistics and jumped at the chance to do so in Madrid through New York University,” said Richards.
Richards loved Madrid because of the people, culture, and the metropolitan atmosphere.”My favorite part, however, was living in a large, metropolitan city for the first time. I loved being able to walk or take the metro anywhere I wanted to go as well as having access to incredible restaurants and events,” said Richards.
Many people have concerns about how studying in a foreign country might affect their education in a negative way. Richards said that studying in Spain during her undergraduate program while also completing her masters was incredibly beneficial because she was surrounded by different cultural influences.
When talking about her experience, Richards realized that she had grown tremendously as a human being. “Being outside your comfort zone and navigating a new country [before smartphones were prevalent] and experiencing a different culture opens your mind and pushes you to question and appreciate your own culture. If I had stayed in the United States, I wouldn’t be who I am today.”
As intimidating as moving to another country might seem, Richards thoroughly encourages it.
“I would absolutely recommend that everyone studies abroad,” said Richards.“I believe everyone can benefit from learning about and experiencing another country’s culture and customs.”