This story is featured in the Spring 2022 edition of HPU magazine.
HPU’s Office of Global Education gives students the international perspective they need to find their place and their passion.
The students persevered in the face of unexpected challenges during the pandemic, but with the help of HPU’s Office of Global Education, they continued to pursue their study abroad goals.
These goals include seeing the world, gaining a global mindset, and finding cultural enrichment.
“I have witnessed incredible resilience in our students,” says Jeffrey Palis, assistant vice president for global education. “Our students have amazing goals, and they’re going to accomplish them, no matter the obstacles.”
Studying abroad while in college is often a great opportunity for students to develop life skills such as communication, emotional intelligence, and adaptability.
Simran Kaur knows this. She has a degree in accounting and studied abroad at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea for one semester.
“I became much more independent, which is something I really wanted to achieve through this experience,” Kaur says. “Once I figured out how to navigate a world entirely in a foreign language, every day was a new adventure and a fun challenge.”
Kaur is from Greensboro, North Carolina, and plans to work at a nearby accounting firm after graduation. Her time abroad gave her the international experience she wanted before joining the job market.
“This opportunity gave me the chance to experience a new culture,” says Kaur. “I got to hear new perspectives, make friends from different countries, and try lots of things I wouldn’t have had the chance to do otherwise.”
Palis likes to say that the passport is the new resume, which means that no matter what field a student enters, the ability to show work experience across cultures is key.
“We talk about it in terms of professional degrees and job competitiveness, but it’s more than that,” says Palis. “It’s the ability to navigate complex communication challenges, adapt to changes and differences, and see the benefits of diverse perspectives and worldviews. These abilities are requirements for today’s college graduates.
Alexa Humphries, an international business major with minors in Chinese and political science who is also on a pre-law track, had two study abroad experiences that impacted her undergraduate studies.
Double the experience
In 2019, Humphries spent a semester at Korea University in South Korea. In the fall semester of 2021, she again studied abroad at the American University of Rome in Italy.
“In both experiences, I improved my language skills by talking with locals rather than just through textbooks,” says the native of Charlotte, North Carolina. “I took courses in international trade and international law, while living abroad. I met students from all over the world and heard their views on global issues and issues concerning their respective countries. Thanks to these courses, my vision of the world widened and I became a more informed person.
Humphries is the President of HPU’s Model United Nations, a Business Fellow, and a member of Phi Alpha Delta, an international law fraternity.
“Going abroad to live in two different foreign countries, one in Asia and one in Europe, allows me to experience two entirely new parts of the world,” says Humphries. “Both times I had to adapt to a new culture and a new language. Learning to adapt has made me a much more capable person who is not afraid to travel to new places and take on new challenges.
And national research data shows consistent results among students who have studied abroad.
First, students who study abroad have higher retention rates and higher GPAs. Second, no matter where and how long a student has studied abroad, two important attributes always develop: confidence and independence.
“Studying abroad encourages a deep and lasting commitment to academic study, and in faculty-led programs in particular, it fosters the opportunities for mentorship and experiential learning that are so linked to academic success. says Palis.