When students see the words “Study Abroad,” they often get more excited about the word “abroad” than the word “study.” The reason is that “abroad” implies “fun” and “study” implies work. But both work and fun are equally important. The former without the latter makes life dull, and the latter without the former makes you irresponsible.
TCU’s study abroad programs are phenomenal, and in order to make the most of them, you should maintain a balance between having fun and studying.
I’ve been fortunate to study abroad twice in my two years at TCU so far, and maintaining this balance has been more than worth it. I learn best experiencing and seeing things firsthand, so studying abroad has greatly enhanced my TCU education. It’s one thing to read about the Port of Hong Kong and how to do business in China, and it’s another thing to walk around the Port of HK and converse with local businessmen. It’s one thing to read about the Berlin Wall in a textbook; it’s another thing to touch the Wall’s remains and see how it affected the daily lives of Berliners.
Whatever your TCU study abroad story will be, make the most of it by working hard to learn about the culture and the history and by embracing the spontaneous adventures that will inevitably occur. Thoroughly read about Germany’s complicated history in the Munich museums, but then go cliff jumping beneath a castle into a Bavarian mountain lake. Learn as much as you can about the Nike shoe factory in Shenzhen, China but then go ride a toboggan down the Great Wall.
TCU’s study abroad programs have enabled me to understand the world in a whole new light. The Honors Abroad trip Cultural Routes taught me the importance of understanding where we have come from, on a national and a personal level, and how we can use that knowledge to guide where we are going. Neeley’s Global Supply Chain class in China showed me the significance of China’s development as it relates to the world economy and taught me practical knowledge about working in a globalized business world.
I learned so much on study abroad trips because of how they were structured. If all we did was work the entire trip, I would’ve gotten burnt out and annoyed that we weren’t engaging in the culture more. If all we did was play, I would’ve been upset that I just wasted a bunch of money and time with little long-term return-on-investment. Thankfully, TCU is a fantastic school that prides itself on being well-rounded, and I am immensely satisfied with my study abroad experiences.
Chad Hummel is a junior Supply and Value Chain Management major from Seattle, Washington. He is a member of the Neeley Fellows Program and the Chancellor’s Leadership Program, a Frog Camp facilitator, and the director of the Exodus Retreat.