Skip to Main Content
Jul 13th, 2019

Global Insights: How Studying Abroad Develops Crucial Skills


This story is featured in the Spring 2019 edition of the HPU Magazine. Discover below how HPU’s Office of Global Education encourages students to develop life skills for a global marketplace. 

CLICK HEREto connect with the Office of Global Education!

Ask Jeff Palis, HPU’s director of global education, what the concept of global citizenship means, and he’ll give you a peek into some of his own study abroad experiences.

“In life, students will encounter people who do things differently than they do, but they must remember that doing things differently does not mean doing things better or worse,” says Palis. “This advice is from a friend of mine in the small village of Rogovka in the far eastern part of Latvia. I met her while conducting my doctoral research in Riga. I asked for advice on what to tell my students on the first day of class in the U.S. the following semester. I wanted my students to understand what the life skill we call ‘global citizenship’ really means.”

The Office of Global Education ensures students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in different cultures and return to the U.S. with valuable life skills to use in the global marketplace.

Palis is the main point of contact for partnering institutions with students who are outbound and inbound for study abroad programs.

“Engaging with people and places other than one’s own helps us understand our shared humanity and appreciate our unique differences, while creating a space to respect diverse beliefs, values, customs, languages and communication styles,” says Palis. “Understanding, appreciating and respecting diverse cultures — these might be the most important life skills we can give a young person in today’s world.”

The Office of Global Education supports the mission of HPU to deliver educational experiences that enlighten, challenge and prepare students to lead lives of significance in complex global communities. Studying abroad is a large factor in building a growth mindset as it requires people to seek out challenges rather than avoid them.

Not only are HPU students abroad exposed to different cultures, but other cultures are also coming to HPU. During International Education Week, HPU held a student panel featuring Sachiho Shiikawa, Macketta Johns and Kirby Hutcheson. The two U.S. students, Johns and Hutcheson, went to Australia and Scotland. Shiikawa is an exchange student from Japan who brought an interesting perspective as a student from a foreign country.

Palis says students are able to take advantage of every opportunity to gain an extraordinary education while also receiving a new perspective on the global community. Studying abroad requires a willingness to try new things and potentially fail in the process. That builds a tolerance for ambiguity when events and communications don’t go as planned.

“Cultivating respect and appreciation for diversity is a life skill our students will gain from the study abroad endeavor they participate in,” says Palis. “We must constantly think on our feet and adapt. It will help our students navigate the world that awaits them after graduation. These are priceless life skills in any field of study or work.”

CLICK HEREto see the full Spring 2019 Magazine!