“It really does change your life and the trajectory that your life can take,” said Erin Hager, a senior psychology student from Wilmington, North Carolina, who studied abroad in Santiago, Chile, for the fall semester in 2018.
Those changes in trajectory come from the personal and social growth you experience while abroad.
“A big realization was that I can do anything that I want to by myself,” she said. “That squashes a lot of fear because if you want to do something, you know you can do it by yourself.”
And those changes affect academic and professional opportunities, too, with study abroad participants traditionally doing better in the classroom, said Heather Ward, the associate dean of UNC Study Abroad and International Exchanges.
By 2023, Carolina wants more than half of its students to study abroad before graduation to give more Tar Heels the opportunity to have those benefits.
“It’s our obligation as a public university to make that opportunity available for every student and to not make it a privilege for some,” Ward said.
Ahead of the Study Abroad Fair and the Feb. 10 application deadline for summer, fall and year-long programs, Hager shares what she learned in Chile and how those lessons shaped the rest of her Carolina career.
Join us every Wednesday for Well Said to hear from students, faculty, staff and alumni. Each week, you’ll learn what’s going on in classrooms, labs and around campus, and how it pertains to the local, national and international headlines.