After battling through four flights and four airports, University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) student Blake Manwiller arrived in France.
He is one of many UNO students who have studied abroad. He studied in France in the spring of 2018 and in Canada in the summer of 2018.
Though many students are scared to travel to an unfamiliar place, he insists the hardest part is coming home.
“Leaving my friends and “extended family” at the train station is easily one of the top three hardest moments in my entire life,” Manwiller said.
Dozens of UNO students are studying abroad during the fall 2018 semester, while others are finishing up the application process for the spring.
The application deadlines for programs vary by term and type. The standard deadlines are:
– Fall semester abroad: Feb. 15 (priority), March 1 (general)
– Spring semester abroad: Sept. 1 (priority), Oct. 1 (general)
– Spring break abroad: mid-November
– May and Summer abroad: Dec. 1 and March 1
The UNO Education Abroad Office helps students select programs, complete applications, go through orientation, connect them to other students abroad, apply for funding and transfer their credits once they return.
Emily Krueger, UNO Education Abroad Advisor, said students who study abroad come back with an improved world-view.
“Being away from the comfort of your home culture forces you to adapt and grow, and to look at the world in a new way,” Krueger said. “Students bring back those new skills and perspectives and apply them to their studies at home, their future careers and even their personal lives.”
UNO student Isabelle Wostoupal, said she has become a more independent person since studying abroad.
“I really enjoyed being able to be independent from not only my family, but my whole culture,” Wostoupal said.
Students are often nervous to learn new transportation systems, go to different school systems and meet new people, Krueger said.
Emily Gomez was one of those students. She studied abroad in the Netherlands and was scared to meet other international students.
However, her favorite memories are the ones she made with her roommates. They travelled together, went to events and shared late night snacks.
“The hardest part was saying goodbye to them,” Gomez said.
Now she has friends all over the world.
“I still message them, and I’ve made future plans to visit them in their country,” Gomez said.
Students who are interested in studying abroad should take the opportunity while they can because it will be hard to find time to travel abroad once they have full-time jobs, Krueger said.
“Take advantage of the opportunities available to you now, when you have access to financial aid and can continue to make progress towards your degree while studying abroad,” Krueger said. “We can help you get there, but we have to hear from you!”
For students who have already decided to make the journey abroad, Wostoupal has advice:
“Keep your mind open. Be open to learning new languages and ways of life. Be open to missing the train and having to figure out a bus system to get back from IKEA. Be open to everything that hits you because when you get back to the United States, you’ll remember those character shaping moments and be happy that you gave everything an open-minded look.”