Brice Lynn

ISA Granada
As an international education professional, I am lucky enough to use the Spanish skills that I gained in my day-to-day work. However, far beyond language, I gained a confidence in my ability to make decisions that is key to working in a professional environment. Studying abroad was a hard decision for me – leaving Pittsburgh for the first time, not knowing anyone, and the like, but I knew it was what I needed to do. Today, as a professional, I am often faced with making difficult decisions that require me to trust my instincts. My experiences abroad instilled that trust in me.

Brice Lynn

ISA Granada
On the day that I left Granada, my host mom walked me to the elevator in our building, gave me a hug, and said “Remember that you’ll always have a family in Spain.” As a first-time traveler and the first person in my family to study abroad, I had hoped for a host family that would give me support and provide a solid foundation for my experience. I was lucky enough to have that. While it wasn’t during my study abroad program, I returned to Granada for work and had the opportunity to have dinner with my host mom. Even five years later, she remembered my favorite meal and we chatted like we did when I was a student – it was a really special experience.

Brice Lynn

ISA Granada
It’s hard work if you do it right. Skills and personal development don’t come from the fun and easy experiences. They come from making decisions that put you in precarious situations that you need to solve. They come from homesickness and being frustrated with your host culture. They come from embarrassing mistakes and cultural snafus. Yes, study abroad should be a fun and amazing experience, but it shouldn’t be without its challenges.

Brice Lynn

ISA Granada
The global market needs individuals who are critical thinkers and able to make decisions with limited information. Experiences abroad often help students develop these skills – what happens when you are lost in a city and the metro isn’t running? What do you do when a volcano erupts, and all flights are cancelled? Many students have these types of experiences and while they are inconvenient at the time, they are preparation for the professional world.

Casey Talay

Monsters & Madmen in the Modern City (Prague, Summer 2014), Pitt in Dublin (Summer 2015)
For me, studying abroad was just about the only thing I knew I wanted to do in college – in fact, I studied abroad twice before I even chose my major! This is really the only time when you are able to deeply experience the world in a way that doesn’t disrupt your life – not to mention, studying abroad does so much to help you develop the independence and adaptability to new situations that people hope to get out of going to college. Regardless of what you want to do with your life, those skills are essential.

Casey Talay

Monsters & Madmen in the Modern City (Prague, Summer 2014), Pitt in Dublin (Summer 2015)
The most challenging part of studying abroad for me was just getting used to cultural norms and beliefs that were not only different from what I was used to, but were things I took for granted as universal human traits. I had to re-learn things even as simple as whether to make eye contact with strangers on public transportation! However, the difficulty of this change was what made me come away from the experience so confident in myself – if I can learn to successfully navigate a completely different culture in just a few weeks, what can’t I do?

Casey Talay

Monsters & Madmen in the Modern City (Prague, Summer 2014), Pitt in Dublin (Summer 2015)
I think it is a great idea for every student to study abroad, now more than ever. The world is increasingly interdependent, which brings with it both amazing benefits and terrible challenges. The only way to truly begin to understand these intercultural changes is to experience them for yourself. Even today, only about 10% of American graduates study abroad. It’s an amazing way to make yourself stand out in the job market and develop skills crucial to being a successful global citizen.

Casey Talay

Monsters & Madmen in the Modern City (Prague, Summer 2014), Pitt in Dublin (Summer 2015)
I was in Prague during the 2014 World Cup, which Germany ended up winning. The whole time we were there, my friends and I would hop on short train rides to random towns just over the Czech-German border so that we could watch the games in German pubs. It was amazing how easy it was to connect with people when we had this exciting thing to bond over, and it’s a practice I utilized to connect with locals in Dublin when I studied abroad again – using the European football-mania to engage with the larger host culture.

Casey Talay

Monsters & Madmen in the Modern City (Prague, Summer 2014), Pitt in Dublin (Summer 2015)
Regardless of the field or industry, job recruiters always seem to be looking for traits like independence, adaptability, problem-solving skills, etc. And yet, these are some of the toughest characteristics to back up on a resume. Study abroad is a really great way to prove you have developed those skills – living and studying/working in a foreign country where you may not even speak the language is a sure-fire way to learn how to be responsible, confront the unknown, and succeed in your goals.

Anisha Mallik

Global Diversity Program (Greece, Czech Republic, Ireland) 
Ever since I was young, I have had an itch to travel. When I realized how expansive the opportunities at Pitt were to study abroad, I knew I could not pass it up. I wanted to develop my international competency and cross-cultural skills, and I knew that studying abroad would be the best way to do so.