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The Global Engagement Office

By Taryn MacGregor
On November 2, 2018

This semester, last fall, for the first time in my life, I stepped from a plane that departed from Boston, my home, and was spit out as far as I could have possibly gotten from my comfort zone. A kind cab driver from the airport dropped me off with my obscene amount of luggage in the middle of the largest city in Southern Spain, and it was immediately apparent to me just how life-changing my new home would be for the next four months. 

The self-realizations and lessons I learned while studying and traveling abroad for almost nine whole months between the years of 2017-2018 have opened limitless possibilities for me. Many redundant parts of American life became more plain and benign to me after traveling, meeting new people, and ultimately forcing my brain to work in ways it had not previously. I was deeply touched by the hundreds of kind faces and words people from all over the world shared with me during my time there. I traveled to eighteen countries, became near fluent in a second language, met my current boyfriend of two years in Romania, and have opened limitless doors to my future through the connections I made while living in both Spain and Scotland.

Having both your compassion and knowledge expanded by simply living your daily life is a pretty miraculous experience and none of that mental transformation could have been possible if it wasn’t for the amazing people from Plymouth State’s Global Engagement Office. 

Debra Reagan is the exemplary model of the Global Engagement Office (GEO) here at PSU. Reagan has traveled internationally many times in the past and uses her worldly knowledge to provide Plymouth State’s students with their best match for studies overseas. If you didn’t know, the GEO team have moved their location from the basement of Mary Lyon to Speare 108, here they can help inquiring students process their options, finances, application processes and timelines regarding their study away dreams! 

When I first inquired with Debra Reagan, I was immediately hooked on just how much you get for relatively the same price we are already paying for our university. I realized this was not an unattainable option for me, and Debra made it clear that all apprehensions I had were out the window. There are countless programs that can satisfy your budget and even more scholarships are offered for these exact programs! All you have to do is ask, and the information will be provided to you tenfold.

One of my semesters abroad turned out to be even cheaper than a semester of Plymouth State for me! To see just how many options essentially every major at this university has for studying abroad was inspiring. To know PSU is willing to help and accommodate credits from literally hundreds of universities across the globe spoke volumes to me, as I was primarily worried about how these classes abroad would affect my GPA.  Zero part of my degree was negatively affected by my 9 months away from my home university, the grades are not transferred, solely the credits you earned for them. Better yet, my abroad courses aided my program more significantly than I could have previously imagined. 

I asked Deb Reagan about where she would advise someone to travel to, who feels undecided about their choices and she said, “I often tell students who are undecided about where they want to go, that no choice will be a bad choice. The vast majority of students who study abroad tell us it was an experience of a lifetime.” 

I couldn’t have agreed more with her answer, I studied in two polar opposite places and countries, and my time abroad was precious to me. The most popular destinations for our PSU students are Italy, Spain, England, Ireland and Australia. 

My experience abroad did not depend on the place that I was in, rather how I chose to enjoy it and make the best out of my time there. Any city or country you visit is going to offer you the widest array of learning and listening opportunities where you can truly gain knowledge merely through living. Adversity and lifestyle changes are incredibly vital to our growth both personally and in interpersonal relationships. Studying abroad anywhere will increase the desirability of your resume regardless of the career path you follow.   

It’s quite blatant how the advantages to studying abroad will enrich your life in every way you could ever imagine. I learned things about the world and myself I could never have attained by staying at my home university. Although Plymouth is amazing, there is so much out there! Why not start the application process today? 

The deadline for the spring semester abroad is coming up quickly on November 1st, however there is a vast amount of time until applications for the summer and fall terms abroad close, so head on down to the GEO office today to try to start facilitating your dreams, and then watch them unfold right before your eyes. 

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