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6

The South Dakotan

The reasons students choose to study abroad are as unique as

each individual. Many know as early as high school they will

embark upon that adventure; others don’t realize it until they

are immersed in collegiate studies.

But all would agree that spending a semester, summer or

break in a foreign country has changed them for the better,

presenting them with opportunities to push their comfort

zones and grow in many different ways, both personally

and professionally.

“I like to think study abroad is a powerful catalyst that

sparks interest in new opportunities and drives self-exploration,

while also fostering a deeper understanding of what it means

to be a global citizen and interact with people who are different

from you,” said Eric Leise, assistant director of USD’s Center for

Academic & Global Engagement (CAGE).

In today’s global economy, it’s becoming more important for

students to demonstrate they can work well with diverse groups

of people, understand how global events shape the economy and

succeed in taking on new challenges. Perhaps one of the biggest

advantages of travel comes from being pulled out of “cultural

bubbles,” strengthening a sense of connection with others, and

deepening a realization that all humanity is interconnected.

Leise sees firsthand how traveling abroad enhances students’

perspectives. “Students mature tremendously during their time

abroad, particularly if they choose a longer term program,”

he said, “and I am almost always able to note a higher level of

confidence they have, which often has the snowball effect of

leading these students to more persistently explore new ways to

creatively develop their talents, skills and abilities.”

Here, in their words, three USD alumni share triumphs and

challenges of travel—and life—abroad serving with the Peace

Corps. Though they may have divergent backgrounds, they

share a common connection—powerful USD influences.

As the preeminent international service

organization of the United States, the

Peace Corps sends Americans abroad

to tackle the most pressing needs of

people around the world. President

John F. Kennedy established the

Peace Corps in 1961 to foster a better

understanding among Americans and

people of other countries. Since then,

more than 215,000 Americans of all ages

have served in 139 countries worldwide.

Alumni Converge on Peace Corps Path