No Such Thing as a Domestic Career

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No Such Thing as a Domestic Career

Grand Forks, ND, is a mere 140 miles from the geographical center of North America. Being in the center means we can get a clear view of everything happening around us - that, and our vast skyline makes us feel like we can literally see to the ends of the earth.

What we see is that it doesn’t matter if you’re studying business, aviation, engineering, English or occupational therapy. Every industry now has a global twist to it.

Here at UND, that thread of internationalism is woven through more than just language requirements.

Every year, approximately 250 students choose to pack their bags and continue their UND educations in a foreign country. The choice gives them direct access to connections that may turn into employers or business partners in their futures. Study abroad is the most direct way to get an international edge and network -- critical to entry-levelers.

“I always tell students that there’s no such thing as a domestic career anymore,” says Jane Sykes Wilson, Education Abroad Advisor for UND. She nods to the fact that, as one might expect, there are a lot of business students who study abroad; however, arts and sciences and aviation have large numbers, too. As do nursing and other health care fields. The international experiences help students mature and think more broadly, and even better, it positively affects graduation rates.

At UND, 49 percent of students who study abroad graduate within four years, versus 22 percent rates for those who do not. Retention rates are higher, too, for those who study abroad.

“Fear is the biggest reason why students don’t study abroad,” says Wilson, “even if they use other excuses.” Some students have never left home before coming to college, let alone left the country. “Inevitably, though, once they conquer the experience, they rely on themselves a lot more. Even if they make mistakes, working through them can be some of the biggest victories of studying abroad.”

UND partners with 11 providers that allow students to study in well over 40 countries as well as the oceans -- Semester at Sea is also one of the many ways to study abroad. Some of the most popular locations include Norway, Australia, the U.K., and China.

Beyond traditional study abroad opportunities, which are defined as those for which a student earns academic credit, a lot of entrepreneurial faculty offer students global interactions in other ways:

• Undergraduate geology students are planning a research trip to Antarctica

• Assistant Professor William Caraher is leading an archeology dig in Cyprus

• The annual Mellem Syposium in the College of Business and Public Administration has an international aspect to its themes

• UND Trumpet Studio performed in Australia

• Professor Travis Heggie’s students in recreation and tourism connect with a similar class in South Africa through e-mail and Facebook.

• Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) engineering lab students won an international competition in Australia.

And, if staying local really is the only option, no worries. Cultural Nights, Feast of Nations, or mentoring international students studying at UND are all ways to gain international insights.

Any way it’s accomplished, a global education is part of what The University of North Dakota offers as an institution and as a contributor to the world.

Amanda Hvidsten, Managing Editor

Discover More:

• Study Abroad / International Centre

• Video: What students think about studying abroad

• World Languages

• Feast of Nations

• Study Abroad Photo Contest Winners 2010

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