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Whooshing Around the World With Study Abroad
If you read our UT Dallas Magazine, perhaps you've noticed one of my favorite features: "A Whoosh Heard 'round the World."
These images on the back cover—perhaps slightly grainy or a little blurry from the action they capture—usually include a UT Dallas Comet abroad, and that Comet's rendition of our beloved whoosh.
Just like these images, technology and economic globalization make the world seem smaller, as if we've all moved closer together. But technology alone can't bring about better understanding among diverse peoples. College students today still benefit from journeying to other lands, gaining global experiences that not only broaden their own perspectives but also give them the edge in the increasingly international marketplace.
At UT Dallas, we encourage students to spend a semester studying in places like China, France, Australia or Costa Rica, among others. Our Office of International Education helped guide 431 students as they participated last year in educational experiences outside the U.S.— a 10-fold increase since 2005.
By living and studying abroad, our students grow personally as well as intellectually. Toni Loftin, a PhD candidate in arts and humanities, was part of UT Dallas' first study trip to Cuba in summer 2012 with Dr. Charles Hatfield's Cuban literature class. Loftin, who grew up during the 1980s Cold War era, says she had always been curious about the island nation off the U.S. coast. "It's the furthest 90 miles you'll travel," she said. "It's a completely different world."
UT Dallas students' international experiences range from traditional study abroad programs, to internships outside the U.S. to faculty-led travel experiences. Students study engineering in France and philosophy in Germany or improve their Spanish with an immersive experience. Our excellent faculty have colleagues in their disciplines teaching at universities all over the world, so UTD students can find schools with great reputations in their fields of study or majors.
Studying outside the U.S. lets students see themselves and their country through a new lens. The opportunity to live for a semester in another country is invaluable and is, in itself, a form of education that offers lessons in respect and tolerance. Gaining cross-cultural experience enhances their skills for global dialogue in a culturally diverse workforce. Students traveling and living overseas are also ambassadors for UT Dallas and the U.S., helping to break down stereotypes about our culture. Such experiences bring intellectual and human perspective to the business of living and prospering in the even smaller world that technology and the global economy promise to create in the future.
About This Newsletter
The President's Viewpoint is a periodic newsletter distributed to a select group of alumni, friends, faculty and staff. It comes from the desk of Dr. David E. Daniel, president of The University of Texas at Dallas, and provides the ultimate insider’s view on the news and concerns of the University.