Studying overseas, Planning and benefiting from GSU’s study abroad programs.

Shawnya Vanderhorst

Planning a study abroad trip can be a hard decision to make especially at Georgia Southern. The university offers a wide selection of destinations that can spark anyone’s interest of studying in locations only seen in textbooks. Danielle Smith, GSU Interim Director, found her interest in studying abroad at a young age. She traveled to Italy in her early years of college and had such an experience that she chose to go again as a student while she studied European Education. As a faculty member at GSU, Smith traveled with students Botswana in South Africa.

Through her experience Smith has learned three beneficial traits while abroad; flexibility, patience and appreciation.

“By dealing with the bus lines, tipping system and people’s different style, I learned to be more patient,” Smith said. “People can be more blunt than we’re used to in the United States,”

Every country has cultural differences, Smith described how one must take a step back and take the culture’s views into consideration before making any sudden remarks, thus making her more patient. She also learned to appreciate where she traveled by enjoying life in the “now”. Smith said it’s so easy to get caught up in the scheduling and the rush of the trip that many people forget to just appreciate the moment in which they’re in at that particular time.

Smith believes that her prior travels and background in study abroad has helped her advance to become the Director at GSU.

“I spent eight years in Germany, I have a wealth of experience within different cultures, without this background experience I wouldn’t have become the director I am today,” Smith said.

From being a student and facilitator on trips she believes that the experience helps her plan the locations of potential trips and figure out the logistics in greater detail.

When choosing a study abroad trip:

  1. Find a place that sparks your interest, even if you’ve been before as a vacation. Studying abroad makes the place seem more real and less tourist like.

  2. Choose a trip that coincides with your major, although it will be an experience of a lifetime make sure you can get needed credits to make the trip both beneficial to your personal life but to your academic life as well.

  3. These trips are not cheap. Try to start at GoFundMe, fundraiser or have a dependable source of income before signing up, because deadlines approach rapidly.

  4. Know which year or semester will work best in your academic career. Some majors are more flexible with the completion of certain courses than others so choosing the right time to go can keep you on track.