Broaden your horizons and study abroad

Maxwell Trice studying abroad in Trinidad & Tobago at the
University of the West Indies | Photo credit: Maxwell Trice

The Office of International Education and Development (OIED) at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) held an event on Friday, February 9 for students interested in learning more about different opportunities to study abroad.

Although many gathered in the Grand Ballroom to obtain the information given, there aren’t many FAMU students actually utilizing the options to study abroad that the university provides.

According to William T. Hyndman III, the Assistant Vice President for the Office of International Education and Development, “In 2017, only 120 students at FAMU took part in the program, but based on the amount of students enrolled at the university, roughly 300 students were needed.”

By participating in the study abroad program it allows students to enhance their communication skills, increases possibility of gaining jobs and internships, all while learning about different cultures and environments which therefore creates an excellent candidate for the workforce. With all of these beneficial aspects of the program, why aren’t FAMU students using it?

Financial strain could be a reason for the lack of student participation, but Hyndman feels that the real issue is that students just aren’t seeing how truly valuable the program is, and how much it has to offer when it comes to professional development.

“The biggest challenge is not financial, students here don’t think it's that important. Some of the things employers look for are the skills students can gain from studying abroad. Things like speaking foreign languages better or the ability to work with people of different cultures.” said Hyndman.

The program offers various scholarships to help with the tuition, such as the Gillman Scholarship, and if time is an aspect to worry about, there are various sessions ranging from three to nine weeks.

The study abroad program allows students to explore a different environment and view the world from a different perspective. Jazmine Dudley, a second year biology pre-med student, says that the program caught her attention because she will “get to go to different countries, learn different cultures, and have different opportunities she would not have here.”

The aspiring doctor also said that the program will help her advance in her profession and reach her goal.

“It’s always been a dream of mine that after I entered my profession I go to the third world countries to help out, so I feel like this is just a gateway into what I want to do for the rest of my life”.  

Students who participate in the program recognize the impact it has not only on themselves but the community as well.

Maxwell Trice, a third year biology major, is currently studying abroad in Trinidad and was interested in the program to “understand other cultures and build my resume.”

“I’m seeing the world from a different perspective and it’s humbling because they don’t have as much.” Trice explains

This is not only a once in a lifetime opportunity, but it has the potential to create an exceptional career path and bring awareness to serious issues.

Students should take the opportunity while they still have the chance to participate in this amazing program.