Exploring life outside of KSC through study abroad opportunities

If you are on the fence about studying abroad, take heed. Get off the fence and get on your way to the Global Education Office. Studying abroad is the best kind of education: an education in which you learn by living. I am unable to count the amount of times I have heard people say they wished they had studied abroad when they had the chance.

People will make excuses. “I don’t want to leave my friends.” Please. You make new and improved friends. Your friendship with your study abroad compadres will be derived from the bond you have that comes with sharing a truly unique experience, even surreal at times.

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That shared experience will include seeing some of the most amazing things in existence, which will render you speechless. It will include getting to know people not by asking generic questions of formality when walking down Appian Way but by asking sincere questions about someone else’s life because that’s what you do on when you sit next to people on a plane to Switzerland, or a train to Milan, or an eight hour bus ride to Munich.

Just saw “Good Will Hunting” again, and per usual, it was great. There is a scene where Robin Williams’ character totally shuts down Matt Damon’s character by criticizing the source of his knowledge stemming from books and not from experience. Achieving understanding of a subject is based in two components: knowledge and experience. True understanding occurs at the crossroads of the two. Textbooks never do cultures any justice. To get to know a place you have to go there.

Before I went to Italy, I knew Italians were expressive, had a delectable cuisine, and were never ones to slouch in the architectural department, but I didn’t know. You can say the words, “Yeah, I bet Italians make good pizza and that cathedral in Florence looks pretty big,” but it’s a different story when you taste that mouth-watering pizza and climb to the top of the Duomo to behold that glorious view of the Florence cityscape.

There is nothing you can possibly miss out on while studying abroad. Anything that happens at home pales in comparison to what you do abroad. “Dude, you’re a sucker. You’re about to miss out on Pumpkin Fest” was what my brother told me through Skype when I was in Italy.

He was right, I was going to miss out on Pumpkin Fest. I was going to miss Pumpkin Fest for a festival labeled with a similar portmanteau: Oktoberfest. Woe is me, I really messed that one up. I have never heard anyone say they regret studying abroad. No other experience in college can have more of a profound impact on you.

I find it flat out pathetic that some people do not study abroad simply because they are afraid. Well then if that’s the case start becoming familiar with the feeling of failure and languished personal development because no one has ever grown by confining themselves to their cozy little comfort zone. You stop pushing your boundaries, you stop evolving.

While most people know Muhammad Ali for being a boxer of the highest caliber, what some may not know is that he also has a great world view and articulated it eloquently. He captured it best when he said, “A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” I agree, champ, well said. And I don’t believe that anyone’s perception of the world will change if they chose to habitually forgo opportunities that will challenge them.

I don’t see myself being able to take three and a half months off from my job to explore another part of the world way down the road. I faced difficulties while I was abroad, just like everyone else I traveled with did. But did those difficulties offset the experience? Absolutely not. If I could press a button right now that would magically put me back into the study abroad experience right now, I would do it in a heartbeat. I implore all of you to contract the travel bug.


Ben Horowitz can be contacted at



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