To Croatia ... and Beyond
by Sammy Deol | published Sep. 12th, 2023
The thought of studying abroad will likely cross your mind during your college career. And while the RIT Global brochures — boasting the university’s five international campuses — paint a rosy picture of the opportunities that await, how can you decide whether to pack your bags?
As daunting as it seems, many students decide to study abroad on a whim. In fact, a mere email from RIT Global inspired Jasmine Nichols, a Rochester native and first year Environmental Science major at the time, to spend four weeks at RIT’s Dubrovnik campus in Croatia.
“I didn’t really search it out,” noted Nichols. “I had never left Rochester before for more than 10 days ... so I said, ‘Let me push myself out of my comfort zone.’”
Except for a brief trip to Toronto, the experience was her first time leaving the country. Nichols earned six credits through her program, taking courses in Croatian ecology and wine tasting. She most appreciated her instructors’ emphasis on out-of-classroom learning, as she spent much of her time on countryside hikes and in local wineries.
“I had never left Rochester before for more than 10 days ... so I said, ‘Let me push myself out of my comfort zone.’”
“That was kind of surprising for me,” Nichols stated. “I thought it was a different kind of culture, the way people learn in different countries.”
Those returning from such opportunities often wish to spend additional time abroad, either as a student or during their career following graduation. Nichols hopes to study in London for a semester before leaving RIT, and her month in Croatia gave her the confidence to potentially pursue foreign jobs.
Myren Bobryk-Ozaki, a Communications student who completed a minor in Business Administration at RIT’s Zagreb campus, also noted how their time abroad influenced their career trajectory. They recall how their conversations with Alice Almer, the Marketing & Communications Manager at RIT Croatia, were particularly impactful.
“She talked a lot about the differences between marketing communications in the U.S. versus Croatia,” Bobryk-Ozaki mentioned. “We had a three-hour-long chat one time, just over coffee ... about promoting a college that you have to pay to go to over free public higher education.
Both Nichols and Bobryk-Ozaki now work as Global Ambassadors at RIT, writing blog posts on the RIT Global website and talking to students who might be interested in similar abroad programs.
Financing a trip overseas is perhaps the largest barrier to entry for prospective students, as even the four-week RIT Global programs can cost almost $10,000. The university provides numerous scholarships to defray such expenses, though many of these funds only cover a small fraction of the overall cost. For example, the Honors Program rewards students going abroad with a one-time $500 grant, and only a handful of internal colleges — such as the College of Art and Design (CAD) and College of Liberal Arts (COLA) — offer exclusive scholarships for their students.
“I thought it was a different kind of culture, the way people learn in different countries.”
Granted, existing financial aid can help fund study abroad programs, so the Education Abroad office encourages students to meet with Student Financial Services to determine adequate pricing. Many students also opt to apply for external funding, including Bobryk-Ozaki, who received a scholarship dedicated to California-based hard-of-hearing students. For those who are able to afford the journey or secure such funding, studying abroad may be well worth the benefits.