Visions of studying abroad dance through my head
Sugarplums aren’t the only things dancing in my head this holiday season. As I gear up for another round of adventures with my college-aged children, visions of studying abroad and terroristic attacks are dancing through my head.
On Saturday, my son, Caleb, will be leaving for a four-month study abroad trip to London. While I’m thrilled for my son to have such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like this, I must admit it comes with some apprehension as well. Okay, lots of apprehension.
I guess I should be used to this by now. Just two years ago, my oldest daughter took off for Belgium for four months. Things got a little dicey about two months into the trip when three coordinated suicide bombings occurred in Brussels, killing about three dozen people and injuring more than 300 others. Though she wasn’t far away from the mayhem, she survived and came out just fine.
I got up enough courage to travel for the first time overseas to be with my daughter in Belgium. We traveled around Europe for a couple weeks.
The civil unrest, however, hasn’t really eased up any since then. Terrorist attacks continue to wreak havoc around the world. And London is no exception. In March, a man drove a car into pedestrians on a pavement along Westminster Bridge in London, killing four people. The perpetrator stabbed a police officer to death before being shot dead by the police.
Two months later, a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a concert in Manchester. In early June, eight people were killed on the London Bridge. The list goes on and on. I hope the new year will bring a sense of calmness to people all over the world.
A semester abroad will no doubt be one of the best experiences of my son’s life. It could also play a significant role in his future.
There are some remarkable findings related to study abroad and careers. Findings show 97 percent of study abroad students found employment within 12 months of graduation (true for my daughter), when only 49 percent college graduates found jobs in the same period.
Study abroad students are likely to find higher starting salaries, earning 25 percent more than those college graduates who do not study abroad.
Studying abroad is something that I wished I would’ve done many years ago, but it seems like studying internationally wasn’t as big of a deal then as it is today. Instead I opted for a Twin Cities television station as my study playing field during college. I worked overnights at KARE-TV in Minneapolis.
Caleb will be taking a full slate of classes in London as he works towards his degree in business administration. What an amazing experience this will be for him.
We are a country, and a world, living in fear - fear of what will be the next attack and when. But we can’t let that fear overtake our lives.
My prayers will be for peace, happiness and safety throughout the entire world this new year so that people like my son will be able to travel around Europe and enjoy life.
Who knows, just maybe another trip overseas will come calling later this spring for me to go in hot pursuit of seeing life in the most populous city of England and the United Kingdom.