New Perspectives, Personal Growth and More: Making the Decision to Study Abroad

Students studying at Webster Vienna enjoy the local scenery and pose for a photo.Students studying at Webster Vienna enjoy the local scenery and pose for a photo.

Studying abroad can introduce you to a wealth of opportunities, including new cultures, personal growth, and an increased worldview. At Webster, we provide a variety of study abroad options for students because of our commitment to global citizenship. Are you thinking about studying abroad? Below are a few things to consider! 

The first question you should ask yourself is: How long do I want to study abroad for? Webster University offers 4-week-long study abroad sessions in the summer, and 8-week-long or 16-week-long study abroad sessions during the fall and spring semesters at its international campuses.  

A group of students studying abroad in Athens stand in front of the ruins of the Treasury of Athens.Students in Webster Athens visit the historic Treasury of Athens during an excursion to the the Delphi Archaeological Site.

Is there a specific location or country that sparks your interest? Maybe you’ve always been fascinated by the history of Athens, or the rich culture of Vienna. Maybe you’ve dreamed of experiencing the beauty of the Swiss Alps in Geneva, or want to journey down the canals of Leiden. Studying abroad gives you the chance to get to know the culture because you are living in it for a few weeks rather than just visiting it for a few days. 

Alyssa Pratt, a senior elementary education major, studied abroad at the Webster Leiden campus. She cited the importance of considering both a timeframe and a location when making the choice to go abroad. 

“Webster has so many options to study abroad that you can be picky with which program you choose. I chose a shorter program because I knew I would likely miss home and that a longer program would be too much for me. Other peers chose to stay longer because they felt like their lifestyle fit staying somewhere longer instead of adjusting to a new culture and leaving. I also chose a location that felt accessible to me. The Dutch are very welcoming and speak incredible English. This helped ease anxiety about a new place or overcoming language barriers. Finding a program that suits your needs will make your experience more beneficial and worthwhile!” 

A group of students on bicycles in front of Webster's Leiden campus.Study abroad students pose in front of Webster Leiden's campus, located on a canal.

Even if you find yourself missing home, you will be able to count on the community of other Webster students. Webster’s international campuses offer community from peers and a Webster flair to things which will feel familiar to that of your home campus. 

“When feeling homesick, I really leaned on my peers and had conversations with them about how I was feeling,” said Pratt. “I think we all did a wonderful job of comforting and supporting each other when we hit patches like this.” 

Students abroad at Webster Leiden in front of an old windmill in Leiden.Students abroad at Webster Leiden stop for a photo in front of a windmill for a photo while biking around the city.

“I would recommend asking people who are important to you to write you a little letter to take with you so you can read it if you need a pick-me-up those first couple of weeks,” said Lilie Floyd, a junior advertising and marketing communications student who studied abroad in Vienna. “Calling my family back home was also helpful because they reminded me how proud they were of me. Also, make sure you get out of your room even if it’s by yourself. Seeing new sites was a great distraction, and then you have some cool stories to tell.” 

Webster Vienna students in front of a carnival ride in the city during the day.Webster Vienna students smile during a day out on the town.

Another benefit of Webster’s international campuses is no language barrier – most courses are taught in English. For example, all of Webster’s international campuses have coursework in English with some opportunities to take foreign language courses as well. Webster offers immersion programs through exchange partners in Belgium, Mexico and Spain for those students who want to improve their language fluency.  

While some students may worry that studying abroad could delay their graduation, this isn’t the case at Webster! A bit of advance planning with an academic and study abroad advisor can help students to plan their coursework in a way that aligns with their anticipated graduation date or even earlier. It’s not uncommon to see some students study abroad more than once and still graduate on time. All Webster campuses use a shared course catalog, so students don’t have to worry how credits will transfer when coming back home. If your major isn’t offered abroad, don’t worry! During your time abroad you can focus on global citizenship, a minor or elective courses. 

Students studying at Webster Athens stand in front of the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon at sunset.Students studying at Webster Athens visit the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon.

When you’re abroad, you can see and do a lot without worrying about breaking the bank. If finances are a concern, the Office of Study Abroad is happy to help outline a plan that works for you. Did you know Webster charges home-campus tuition for all its programs abroad? All financial aid applies, and there are additional study abroad scholarships available, such as the Webster World Traveler Program. Planning ahead is the most important part!  

“You don’t have to spend a ton of money traveling to get the most out of the experience,” explained Floyd. “Make friends with locals, and research hidden gems in your city. Some of my favorite memories were just going out to eat with friends I made while I was there. I recommend trying to make local friends because as much as you’ll want to stick with other Americans, you’ll experience so many unique cultures if you branch out, and you’ll find the best places to go that only the locals know about.” 

Webster Geneva students sit on a dock with the Alps in the background.Students at Webster Geneva enjoy the scenery of the mountains from a dock. 

Although each study abroad experience can look different, the takeaways remain the same among most students: there's so much that you will learn about the culture and about yourself. 

“I learned a lot about seeing things from new perspectives,” said Pratt. “Being a part of the Dutch school system helped me see how cultural differences impact so much of someone’s life and how lifestyles impact our biases. I was able to have conversations with them about these differences and understand their perspectives.” 

“I've always been accustomed to other cultures being an Asian American and an immigrant,” shared Brian Pham, a senior majoring in games and game design. "However, being old enough to travel to a country and experience the culture of a whole society firsthand was new and almost refreshing. Going abroad expands your horizons and perspective, and I recommend it.” 

A group of Webster students stand in front of the Chateau De Chillon on a cloudy day.Students studying at Webster Geneva take a day trip to Chateau De Chillon. 

Floyd echoed and expounded on both Pratt and Pham's points. 

“One of my main takeaways from studying abroad was becoming a more independent person. I began to realize that I could rely on myself, which grew my confidence in planning trips and traveling by myself. Studying abroad made me a more worldly person, a better communicator, and more open to new things. I never imagined I could live by myself in a new country, but now that I’ve done it, I feel like I can do anything. The memories I made while studying abroad have made such an impact on the person I am now, and I know I’ll carry them with me through life. If you’re thinking about studying abroad, 100% do it.” 

This summer, Webster is hosting international campus study abroad sessions in Geneva, Athens, Leiden, and Vienna. Students can study abroad for one or two sessions and combine program locations for a comparative study abroad experience. It’s not too late to learn more or sign up - choose your summer program abroad by Feb. 29, or consider joining for a fall adventure abroad by March 30!  

If you aren’t a current Webster student, check to see if your school is a WINS partner school. Students attending a school in the WINS network can study abroad at Webster’s global campuses and may be eligible for up to a $500 credit toward airfare. If you’re interested in studying abroad at Webster as a student from a different university, learn more about how to apply on our website! 

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