”It was both an experience that had moments of culture shock and culture appreciation,” said Antioch student Miranda Rich after her participation in a trip coordinated by Antioch University Los Angeles. The Antioch Education Abroad (AEA) program serves as an inspiration and guide for students that want to take the opportunity to learn more about the world. Rich joined a program that took ten students to China with the purpose of exploring their culture and traditions, however other alternatives such as programs in West Africa, Scotland, and India are also offered. The AEA has been in the works for almost 60 years and offer their services to not only Antioch students, but to curious students all over the country.
Many benefits wait for the brave students that leave the comfort of their home to possibly see a whole new world. “I think culture and history makes a impact on the structure and foundation of a community, so as a communication major I feel that it is important to take every opportunity I can to learn as much as possible about different cultures,” commented Rich on her choice of joining the program who felt that the trip served as a personal and professional development. According to a survey by The Institute for the International Education of Students (IES), 97 % of students sensed a greater sense of personal growth after their stay in another country, and almost the same percentage felt more self-confident. Not only did the survey show increased maturity within the students, almost all of them felt that their view of the world had changed as well as a greater understanding for their own cultural values.
It could also be a great boost for a future career. According to the article “Every Student Should Study Abroad” by Allan E. Goodman and Stacie Nevadomski Berdan American graduate students lack the cross-cultural experience and language skills to communicate in a world that is as globalized as it is today. ”Learning how to interact with people from other countries and cultures equips future leaders in all sectors to address urgent issues — from curing diseases and finding energy solutions, to fighting terrorism and hunger — shared across borders,” the two authors suggested.
Some events that Rich got to take a part in on her trip were classes in Chinese language and culture, banquets to socialize with Chinese students, and
visits to elementary schools to learn more about the education system. “Until you learn more about China and visit these places in person, you can never truly appreciate and realize just how special this piece of history you’re seeing is,” commented Rich on her favorite part of the trip, which were the visits to the tourist sites. “There are not many places in the United States that compares to the many amazing locations of history in China!”
The upcoming programs that the AEA offers for the spring semester are located in Cameroon, Argenting, and then there is the Antioch in Germany that is offered all year around. Apart from Rich’s trip that was under a two week period, these programs usually take three months. Faculty will join the students on their adventure and some programs include a language preparation class. Rich recommends the type of trip she was on. “If you enjoy traveling, learning with groups, trying new things, and enjoying diversity in culture then you will get a lot out of these types of programs!”
For more information, visit the website of AEA, www.antioch.edu/aea2