Biology students are encouraged to undertake coursework and research and engage in internship or service opportunities around the world. Study abroad can be the most significant decision you could make during your undergraduate education. If you are questioning whether study abroad is the right decision for you, consider the following benefits and opportunities:
- Research is international. Researchers all around the world are working together to answer the most difficult questions in health, medicine, environmental science, ecology and conservation and agriculture.
- US is ranked 37th in health care– Participate in a study abroad experience to learn how other countries provide health services to its citizens, and bring this new perspective back to the United States.
- Complete General education requirements. You don’t necessarily have to do biology coursework abroad. General education, language or related courses can be done instead.
- STEM students are underrepresented. American STEM students only account for a small percentage of study abroad participants. As a result, there are unique programs and scholarship opportunities encouraging STEM students to go abroad.
- Participate in programs offered in English. Study abroad and research programs all over the world are offered in English.
- Travel during the summer. A vast majority of international programs are offered during the summer. These programs are usually shorter and don’t conflict with the normal semester.
- Diversify your VCU education. Take courses and perform research in areas not offered by VCU. You never know what could result from this exposure!
In addition to complementing your undergraduate education with international experience, you will gain important skills that will provide you with unique advantages in life while studying abroad. Some of these skills include:
- Valuable communication and cross-cultural skills
- Networking and connecting with new people, universities, and companies
- Increasing marketability in the globalized market
- Strengthening foreign language skills
Rams Abroad 101 is the first place students should start on their journey to studying abroad through VCU. Rams Abroad 101 helps students understand the various program options available to them, how to select a program, funding options, how to earn credit abroad, and next steps in the study abroad process.
- Make an appointment with a biology advisor by clicking on Advising Appointments from your MyVCU Portal and schedule a meeting with an advisor at the GEO to discuss your study abroad experience by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- After meeting with study abroad and academic advisors, apply to your program of choice.
- Remember, applications and scholarship opportunities are usually due way in advance so the key to success is to start researching early!