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Study Abroad Blog

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The Secret Benefit to Studying Abroad

If you are looking at these blogs, there is a great chance that you have a good idea of the benefits of studying abroad: experiencing a new culture, picking up a new language, putting yourself in a new environment and learning how to adapt to situations, and many more. However, there are many more unspoken benefits that come with putting yourself somewhere far away from your home: The ability to attend and see world events.

All of us know that the world doesn’t revolve around our little chunk of land; it also includes the 7.4 billion others that live in other places. This means that there are a large amount of cool events, demonstrations and conferences that end up being held in a place different from our own country. Fortunately, I was able to experience this firsthand as I travelled to Barcelona the second week of November.

 Main Opening Ceremonies Stage

Every year, there is a gathering of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates known as the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. Although this summit is in different locations every year, I was lucky enough to be studying abroad in Spain at the same time the conference was in Spain. Being invited by an alumnus of my Fraternity, I took a 15-hour bus ride to get to Barcelona and take part in this wonderful experience.

In the three days of the conference, there were numerous lectures and workshops from many Nobel Peace Laureates and global organizations, such as the United Nations. The World Summit has done a wonderful job of creating even more opportunities for college-aged students across the world, so there is a separate function of the Summit that is specifically aimed so that college students can come to the conference and get access to exclusive workshops with Peace Laureates/Organization, share ideas, ask questions and represent their universities at this wonderful gathering.

 Student Access ID Badge

During my time in Barcelona, I heard from a large number of Peace Laureates, attended workshops with notable figures such as Mairead Maguire and spent time talking with students from all around the world and sharing our personal frustrations, problems and ideas. This was also around the time of the events in Paris, so you had a large congregation of young leaders dedicated to the ideals of peace discussing large and immediate issues. I cannot think of a more inspiring event in my life than this. You really could feel like everyone you were talking to was going to be someone notable in the future, and yet you could call them a friend after spending 3 days going around the city with them.
 Pictures of Peace

Now I’m not saying that one has to attend this specific conference (although I would highly recommend this one), but I suggest that during your time abroad, you seek out activities that are not immediately available in the place where you live. If you’re in Europe like myself, you might try attending any kind of event (conference, meeting, etc.) dedicated to the United Nations or other world politics organizations. If you’re in any other place, there’s more than likely events dedicated to specific interests such as art conferences dedicated to your specific country and many other events that could possibly go down in history as being impactful.

 Still had time to do a little sight seeing - Sagrada Familia

This is really one of the great perks to studying abroad: It makes you a world citizen. You have the right and the responsibility to be a part of things that could be really important to world history 50 years from now. One must only try to seek them out.

Chase is the Fall 2015 CEA MOJO Blogger in Granada, Spain. He is currently a Senior at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

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