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Study abroad was initially incorporated into U.S. higher education as an opportunity for students to learn about unfamiliar societies and strengthen one’s foreign language skills. Heritage seekers, however, participate in overseas study primarily due to family background—national, religious, cultural or ethnic (Szekely, 1998). In other words, there is motivation to learn more about what is familiar to individuals from this particular demographic.   

The opportunity to explore a country where your ancestors originated from can be profound and exciting. While abroad, you may forge relationships with the local population because of overtly similar ethnic characteristics. You also may find that your nationality and your cultural background effect your interactions with the local population in surprising ways, which may contribute to you not feeling fully accepted. We encourage you to stay open to both kinds of experiences; they may enhance your understanding of the country in which you are studying and the U.S.

Next Steps:
To learn more about what the study abroad process entails, click on Application Process and carefully follow each step. If you have additional questions or concerns, please make an appointment with an education abroad adviser.

Additional Information:
Heritage Seeking & Study Abroad

Last modified 06/14/2019

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