Learn, Grow and Transform: Making a Case for Studying Abroad at DU
Leaving home to go to college is one thing. Boarding a flight to another country and another life is a whole other beast. But often, taking an international leap of faith can be truly life changing.
For many university students, studying abroad is an integral part of their college experience. It’s a time of exploration and discovery, a time where students can learn more about who they are—or completely reinvent themselves—while continuing to pursue their studies.
The prospect of traveling so far for so long can be intimidating. But Emelee Volden, director of the University of Denver's Office of International Education, says the benefits far outweigh the cost of some pre-flight jitters.
“The experiences and the opportunities that they have, to live in another country for this amount of time—they will likely not have another time in their life when they can do it for three or four months,” she says. “And the growth and the learning that comes from the challenges they experience and from the opportunities that they have are simply transformational.”
More than 700 DU students will take on those challenges this academic year, with 422 students already abroad and departures continuing through September.
They’re traveling to 37 countries across the globe and no nation is off-limits—besides Russia and Ukraine, due to the current conflict between the two countries.
Volden says DU is offering several new programs this year, with students traveling for the first time to Georgia, Latvia and Taiwan.
“[Georgia and Latvia] are a result of offering some options for students wanting to study the Russian language,” she says. “Because those choices have been eliminated from what was previously offered before the war in Ukraine.”
Some students will even go as far as Australia and New Zealand. Travel times to those countries can exceed 20 hours, with multiple layovers and long flights.
The most popular destinations? Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic top the list of places DU students will go this year.
While studying abroad is known to be pricey, eligible DU students can get financial assistance with their educational travels through the Cherrington Global Scholars program. The stipends for round-trip airfare and student visa application fees reflect DU’s commitment to fostering international study, research and outreach.
Volden says it’s normal to be nervous or apprehensive about taking on such an ambitious voyage. But, she says, students shouldn’t let their nerves stop them from having an experience that could truly change their lives.
“After this, you'll never be scared or intimidated to get on a plane to go anywhere different because of the courage and the independence gained from studying abroad,” she says.
Current DU students who are looking to begin their “around the world in 80 days” quests can find resources and advising at the Office of International Education. There will also be a Study Abroad Fair on Sept. 27from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Campus Green outside the Community Commons.