Office of Global Citizenship

While You Are Away

Studying abroad offers  students unique opportunities for exploration, both geographical and personal. Most students enter their study abroad program with a great deal of excitement, but they tend to overlook the difficulties that they may encounter while abroad. Living abroad, students may come into contact with new illnesses or engage in behavior that lowers their immune system. Additionally, while interacting with new people and experiencing new cultures is exhilarating, it can be exhausting. Students need to think about and prepare for the experiences that they will have.

Students abroad, especially those on semester- or year-long programs, are likely to encounter both "highs" and "lows," a kind of emotional roller coaster. Studying abroad is hard, and it presents physical and emotional challenges. For the above reasons, students, their families and doctors need to discuss whether or not studying abroad is appropriate for the students and, if so, what type of program is suitable. Even students who do not face recurring psychological challenges are likely to encounter "culture shock," which can affect students' emotional states. Our website has a special section on "culture shock" to make students aware of this issue and to help them prepare for it.

Students experience intense personal growth while away from Sewanee because they learn to navigate across cultural, linguistic, religious, and racial divides. The enhanced autonomy that students experience also fosters responsibility. As part of their training as global citizens, students should make time "to give back" to their host communities and to act responsibly toward their hosts, including respectfully following local customs and practices. In this section of the website, the Office of Global Citizenship offers advice on how to manage challenges and maximize opportunities while abroad. We have organized the information into the following sections: