New group of students set for semester abroad

Joseph Craker, Staff Writer

As another group of eager students from Madison College get set for their semester abroad, staff at the college are confident that the students will take more than just knowledge back with them.

Tammy Gibbs, the Education Abroad Coordinator at Madison College, understands from both the students’ feedback and her own experience that you can learn as much about yourself as you can about another culture. 

Gibbs studied internationally in Freiburg, Germany during her collegiate years, as well as Stuttgart, Germany when she was in high school.

“My two study abroad experiences were very different,” Gibbs said “In high school, I lived with a host family and had very little opportunity to speak English.  I am still able to speak German as well as I do because I had such an immersive experience.  That developed my desire to learn about cultures and motivated me to keep traveling.”

Later, during her time at college, another opportunity presented itself to her, and she could not turn it down.  This time around, instead of living with a host family, she would be able to enroll in a program that focused more on education and was designed to support American students. 

“I had a less immersive experience, but it allowed me to become more independent.  I developed my own travel style and became a better problem-solver,” Gibbs said.

As our world becomes more connected by the day, companies are practically scrambling to find job candidates who are able to understand and relate to people who are different from them.  With less than 10 percent of U.S. collegiate undergrads studying abroad, it is something that really stands out on a résumé. 

Madison College offers the Interdisciplinary Global Studies Certificate, which shows that a candidate is willing to accept and appreciate different cultures, viewpoints, and ways of living by getting involved on and up close and personal basis.  Furthermore, attempting to thrive in a completely new environment gives students something that can’t be put on a résumé: confidence.

Of course, it almost goes without saying that these opportunities are extremely fulfilling and exciting.  Going to an exotic place and feeling it become home is a once in a lifetime experience, and should not be taken for granted. 

“Both experiences still strongly influence who I am and what I believe today, and I consider them both to be two of the best decisions I have ever made,” Gibbs said.

For those interested in learning about students’ experiences from the past semester abroad, brief presentations will be held by the students on Aug. 30, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Intercultural Exchange.  Following the presentations, the students departing in the fall will be briefed on a more personal level by the previous students. 

Madison College offers a wide range of international education experiences, from full semesters abroad to week-long, more focused courses on just about every continent.  These can be found in their entirety at