It’s hard to argue that there are many benefits to studying abroad, and for MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) graduate, Virginia Yu, it gave her a unique job opportunity as well.
“I’ve always loved traveling and learning about new cultures,” the 22-year-old says.
Yu attended the Danish Institute for Study abroad (DIS) in her spring semester of 2013. The school is located in Copenhagen, Denmark — “The land of LEGOs and awesome architecture!” she quips.
The tuition to study abroad was actually cheaper in Denmark than in Baltimore because Yu didn’t have to pay for extra on-campus fees. Her trip included classes, housing, two study tour trips, transportation in Copenhagen, and food expenses in the form of a prepaid grocery card. Yu also had grants and financial aid from MICA that carried on for her spring semester abroad, including a presidential scholarship and a MICA talent grant.
“[One way] I saved money was by not eating out and always asking for student discounts when I did eat out,” she says. “Copenhagen offered plenty of them because the majority of people were students.” Education is free in Denmark, so many people there are obtaining their masters. Because of this, many stores and cafes offer student discounts.
Yu ended up staying in Denmark for a total of eight months after she secured an internship with Seidenfaden Design Copenhagen for the summer.
“I felt really fortunate to have that opportunity because it allowed me to have more time in Denmark and to see the country more,” she says. “The best part, of course, was being able to work internationally and to compare the work environment to how things were like back home.”
She said that in Denmark there were better wages, more time off and less pressure — a very different working environment than one would find in Baltimore or New York City.
For college students, resume building is everything and having work experience abroad can really help someone stand out from other applicants.
“I gained a worldly knowledge, a chance to see the world, an opportunity to study overseas, which lead to working overseas, and lastly a once in a lifetime experience that I’ll never forget,” Yu says. “It has helped me become the person I am today.
“You learn to redefine what home is and you learn to infuse another culture to call your own.”
And really, isn’t that what studying abroad is all about?
-Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram:slevitz
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