Concordia College often encourages us to study abroad or get an internship or co-op opportunity. Even if I decided I would not be studying abroad via Concordia programs, I am technically studying abroad and have for the past two years, as I am originally from France. Concordia’s mission statement is really clear about the college’s opinion on international involvement: “The purpose of Concordia College is to influence the affairs of the world by sending into society thoughtful and informed men and women dedicated to the Christian life.” From a professional standpoint, studying abroad makes you different from the next applicant/interviewee. You will have a slight edge because of your experience in another country and possibly with a new language if you go to a country with a language different than yours, which is always good. It also adds a line to your resume. From a personal standpoint, it is great to see a different culture even if it is not completely different, like Western European and North American cultures. You make new friends, try new things and make great memories, memories you will cherish for the rest of your life and tell your grandkids about. Yes, you will miss your family and friends and miss out on some important things that happened in their lives, as I did. But the reunions are worth it, and the time you will spend with each other is great. I actually feel closer to my parents and brothers now than ever before, even if we are thousands miles (or kilometers) apart, which is kind of weird. I had so much fun as a foreign exchange student and senior in high school in Oregon that I wanted to come back and go to college in the USA. I fell in love with the culture that I knew I liked before coming here, and my experience living within the culture reinforced my opinion. This is why I am advising you to study abroad if you have the opportunity. There will be some hurdles to jump over, such as the language barrier, overcoming some of your fears, like being away from home for a long time, but you will be a better person at the finish line.
This letter was submitted by Ben Wagner, ’14.