9 AM in Tokyo, Japan is when instead of being a commuter, you get to be a sardine. Physically crammed into the train with hundreds of other people, you better be prepared to get comfortable (or uncomfortable, if we’re being honest) for your hour-long ride, with skyscrapers as far as the eye can see zipping past. It may not be the most enjoyable, but it is one of those experiences where a person stops feeling like a tourist and starts feeling like one of the natives. Studying abroad does that, it is a unique time when students can do more than just visit a country. It’s the time when they have the opportunity to live and experience what a native might experience rather than the shallow encounter that a tourist would have with a culture. Students who live in one country their whole life have no reason to even consider the fact that there is a whole other world that they haven’t seen or thought about. Culture is something that people are blind to until they experience an “other”. People think that what they know is all there is, but obviously that can’t be true, there are hundreds of different cultures that view the world and the things inside it so differently, if they never have to face that fact then they won’t be able to look critically at their own way of viewing the world. By living and studying in another country, students are given an opportunity to gain cultural understanding and also to develop personally.
Library Research Prize for First Year Students - Third Place Winner
Olsen, Ellora, "Life-Long Benefits of Studying Abroad" (2020). Library Research Prize Student Works. 17.
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