This story is featured in the Fall 2016 edition of the HPU Magazine. Discover below how High Point University’s study abroad program offers new perspectives for students.
“In one of my business classes, I worked for a real Australian client to develop a marketing plan that the company uses today,” Sladek tells the crowd. “Through that, I created an international network of people, from classmates, roommates, professors, travel companions and more.”
Sladek, a senior communication major, is an ambassador for High Point University’s Office of Study Abroad. She frequently speaks to current and potential students about why they should pursue international experiences.
For many students, the thought of stepping foot into a foreign country for the first time can be jolting. There are new faces to meet, new cultures to absorb and new places to explore.
But ask anyone who’s studied abroad, and they’ll all agree on one thing: It’s so worth it.
A Global Marketplace
At HPU, students accomplish their global aspirations.
They can climb mountains in Australia, take business classes with German students, learn Italian from the locals, create memories in Hong Kong and much more.
HPU’s offerings abroad have grown immensely in the past year alone. This fall, HPU welcomed nearly 40 new exchange students from across the world — the largest number of exchange students in HPU history.
What makes studying abroad worth it? You expand your worldview and network.
“It’s part of the mission of the university — to be significant and thrive in a global marketplace,” says Heidi Fischer, HPU’s director of study abroad.
“You will broaden your horizons because you stepped out of your comfort zone. You have to adapt, you have to talk to people who are different from you, or you’ll never talk to anyone all day long. And you build an international network when you live with people from different countries.”
Just before Sladek jetted off to Australia, she tore her Achilles tendon. She spent her first few weeks overseas in a wheelchair, cast and crutches. She says that while it wasn’t what she originally wanted, dealing with her injury abroad taught her to cherish every moment, experience, sight and ability that she had, regardless of her condition.
“Amy had such a varied semester,” Fischer says. “She did travel and visit new places — everyone does that. But she also got plugged in at a church, grew through adversity, had the experiential learning component in her classes and met the locals. She had the experience we want for our students.”
Students also learn time management from balancing travel and studies, and practical life skills from independent living. These are the types of career-building skills that employers seek.
“After taking three ‘History of Interiors’ classes with our dean, Dr. John Turpin, we were able to see the art and architecture shown to us in his PowerPoints in real life — and every time we recognized a picture we got really excited because we already knew its history,” says Pepper, who’s now pursuing her master’s in interior design at Florida State University. “Studying abroad was essential to tying together what you learn in the classroom and the world — it exposes you to so much and makes you grow as an individual.”
Sladek agrees. She tells the crowd in Cottrell Hall how her semester in Australia enhanced the value of her degree. But it also helped her discover her “wanderlust gene” — the one that makes her take risks, explore new ideas and embrace adventure.
“We’re meeting the needs of our students — personal, academic and professional goals,” says Fischer. “That’s always been our philosophy in the office. It’s exciting to offer dozens of new international programs. Our study abroad fair is huge now. Our students travel across the globe to represent HPU. We welcome new exchange students from new countries each semester.
“This process has been challenging and rewarding. Yes, it’s hard work. But look at all we’ve done.”
View this story and more in the Fall 2016 edition of the HPU Magazine: