Our CEA Alumni Ambassador at California State Polytechnic University (Pomona), Michael Adams, weighs in on the importance of study abroad and how his experience in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, helped him become more of a global citizen.
CEA: Why did you choose to study abroad?
Michael: I wanted to study abroad because I always wanted to see another culture, and live in it for an extended amount of time to really get a feel for how lively and unique the culture was.
CEA: What classes did you find useful or applicable to your field of study or career interest?
Michael: My major is unique and only offered in two universities in all of California. That being said, I thought it was pointless to even try and get transfer credit for my major. However, I was able to use CEA's site specialists to help me find course summaries for each of their engineering classes, and was able to get three classes approved for my major. I also took two language classes (isiXhosa) and a community service and development class.
CEA: How has your study abroad experience impacted your life, academics, and/or future career goals?
Michael: Study abroad was by far the best thing I have ever personally pursued doing in my life. It has made me re-ask myself many of life's difficult questions. I experienced this culture and evaluated what's really important in life and what I should pursue in my personal and professional goals.
CEA: How has the ambassador experience helped you since returning and with your future career goals?
Michael: Becoming an ambassador has allowed me to still feel a part of the international community. After studying abroad I realized how important it is to endorse studying in another country, and being an ambassador is a way for me to show my enthusiasm for it and encourage others
CEA: In your opinion, why don't more male students study abroad?
Michael: We as males tend to get set in our ways and focused on completing the tasks we have in front of us. Since studying abroad is an optional venture, we don't really pursue it because we are mainly focused on finishing and checking off what's on our list.
CEA: Why do you think it's important for male students/all students to study abroad?
Michael: I think it is just as important for men to study as women. It gives you a real experience to see and live within a culture other than your own, and shows you what commonalities and differences you have with people from all over the world.
CEA: What are three study abroad myths you can debunk for other male students considering study abroad?
Michael: The most important thing for me was the money. I always thought money was going to be my constricting issue and always thought it would be the reason I would have to say no. However, the money worked itself out! You can use your FAFSA money, Cal and Pell Grant money, and I applied for lots of study abroad scholarships and received two - one from CEA's Financial Need Based scholarship and one from the Gilman Scholarship. Both of which I would highly recommend applying for.
CEA: If you could give any piece of advice to other male students considering study abroad, what would it be?
Michael: DO IT. Don't let the easiness and habitual tendencies of staying at your home university keep you from taking a leap of faith and experiencing something completely new and on your own.
CEA Alumni Ambassador Michael Adams is currently a Junior at California State Polytechnic University (Pomona). He studied abroad in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, during the Fall 2012 semester.
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