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A MOJO’s Life After Studying Abroad: School, Graduating and a Career

Studying abroad is an experience that will prepare you for life like nothing else. Sure, when you go to college you gain a freedom and independence, but studying abroad gives you a better cultural and worldly understanding. It is perhaps the first time for many getting on a plane by themselves, flying to a different country and jumping into life in another culture. Through studying abroad, you are able to completely study in another language, become immersed in another culture, gain international friends and homes, and take adventures! Not only that, but you get to take home that experience, and bring back what you have learned abroad.
I attend a social-justice based school in the heart of Chicago, we get diversity in all different forms like ethnicity, backgrounds, birthplaces and especially opinions. Through studying abroad, I will be able to add even more to the discussion-based classes I attend. Not only from my history of growing up in Wisconsin, but now an opinion based on a cultural experience here in Ireland. The Irish way of life is very laid back and easygoing, they like to have a good time and really enjoy life. I think I can bring energy back to the busy and fast-paced life of Chicago, teach my classmates and friends to sometimes stop and enjoy the small things that make up life, stop worrying about things that you cannot change. On the other end, Ireland has a deep and still present history of colonization. It is a major part of their history and what makes them Ireland, as the United States is well versed in colonizing and being colonized, I think it could be important to show that in a different context. Show what Ireland has gone through and the significant impact it has had on other cultures as well. I will bring home what I have learned from studying abroad, and studying abroad in Ireland, and use this better cultural understanding in everyday life at home.
Studying abroad also significantly affects life after graduation as well. Not only does it show future employers your potential for independence, strength in new situations and ambition, but it shows your cultural understanding. In the this globalized world, it is inevitable that you will interact with people from all different backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures. It is so meaningful that you can show your cultural awareness and potential for interaction from studying abroad, any employer can appreciate that. Through studying abroad, I learned that I can thrive in another culture, that I can learn and understand others in a whole new way, and that interaction in a new setting gives me a better worldly understanding that can help me in any situation. Studying abroad is impossible to explain in writing, but it is easy to understand the limitless possibilities it can offer.
Anna Toman is the Spring 2013 CEA MOJO in Galway, Ireland

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