Everybody loves to travel, but it can come at a price. Luckily, there are programs that can help. One program in particular that I used is Rustic Pathways.
I went during my junior year in high school and absolutely loved it. I received 15 community service work hours that I put on my resume and gained valuable life lessons. They provide all kinds of different travel programs— even programs that you can get school credit for.
Typically, the age range is 13- 18 years old, but they do have special college and after-college offerings, so don’t think that you’re too late to sign up.
You can visit their website at Rusticpathways.com for more information.
Not only is traveling a leisure activity, but it can also benefit you career-wise too. By traveling, you are putting yourself out there in the world and educating yourself in the best way possible, by immersing yourself in a different culture.
You don’t even have wait until school is out to travel; colleges often provide study abroad programs. Here at Manhattanville,
Father Wil Tyrell is the one who is in charge of the study abroad program. The process to study abroad here at Manhattanville is the following: typically, you should apply when you’re a sophomore because the prime time to study abroad is junior year—although, seniors can still go, but they can only go for a semester, which is during the fall semester of their senior year. The programs offered here are, Direct Exchange Agreement Programs, where students pay what they already pay for the tuition at Manhattanville every semester. The only out of pocket money they need to pay is for the room and board of the host academic institution. The locations that fall underneath the direct exchange program are England, France, Ireland, Japan, and Puerto Rico. If these places don’t interest you, Manhattanville also offers an Independent Study Abroad Program, as well as a Cooperative Study Abroad Program.
Talking with Father Wil about the process of applying and what benefits you gain from studying abroad, he had these words of wisdom to share:
“They need to come and see me. They need to come and look at the website, because it’s all on the website, the direct links to the universities and programs. They can go see their classes, and the costs. But I usually sit with some students and walk them through that process as well.”
While you might think studying abroad is a simple process, there are certain requirements that you need in order to qualify.
“There are requirements. Normally, we allow sophomore students to apply for one semester abroad, with financial help from the college and that’s one semester during their junior year. Students choose either fall or spring of their junior year. There are occasions where a junior will want to go for their first semester senior year, and that’s a possibility as well, but they really need to be on time with their application, because we look at that a little more strictly because we’re worried about graduation when they get back. They have no room really to mess up any credit or classes. They need a 3.00 (GPA), but we tell students who are a 2.85 to apply as well.
Usually, programs and universities ask for students who have a 2.70. So, as long as our students are qualified with a 2.70 or 2.80 here, they’re definitely going to get into the university college that they want abroad. They have to do their application for us, if they are accepted to us. The second phase is that they apply to their specific university or program.”
While the limit of those who can apply to study abroad is near limitless, the number of accepted students is low, depending on what program you wish to do.
“With the direct exchange, that’s a one-on-one student exchange. So, each semester we’re able to exchange at least two to four students per university partner, so that’s limited. Then there are the cooperative, and the cooperative we’re able to send, I guess anywhere from 30-35 students with financial aid. So, our students are competing with each other to go study abroad.”
However, if you’re one of the few to go, the benefits of studying abroad are endless.
“The benefits, first and foremost, are very obvious; students learn to be more independent and mature because of the experience. They have an in-depth, cross-cultural experience while abroad. Then the academics are very different, so that’s a learning experience. They learn about culture, language, and politics, so that global citizen arises within them. They travel, which is a wonderful experience, because you often don’t get to travel once you graduate college and begin real-life work and/or graduate studies. And lastly, I think what’s important with studying abroad, is that you can really focus on your discipline of study while you go abroad. Perhaps a senior thesis is found; there’s an interest you might want to do. Secondly, internships; students can actually do an internship abroad, which is great for resume building.
Studying abroad in general is great for resume building. A lot of corporations want to see someone who has had experience traveling and is intercultural.”
Studying abroad is a big step for most but in the end, it’s a life-changing experience that you won’t regret doing. So, keep in mind that if you wish to study abroad for next semester, the application is due Feb. 23. You can visit Father Wil at his office, Founders G-20, if you have any more questions!