American Univesity of Beirut

Study abroad to leave your comfort zone

​Study abroad to leave your comfort zone​

The people of this region are well-known to be world-savvy globetrotters. Yet when it comes to the AUB student population, fewer than five percent take advantage of our excellent exchange and study abroad programs. A true liberal arts education is about getting out of one's comfort zone, challenging oneself with new ideas and new experiences. That is when we learn the most about the world and about our own characters. Counterintuitively, spending a semester, a year, or even a summer abroad may be the best thing you do while at AUB.​

AUB has exchange agreements all over the world and the list is growing. One of their outstanding features is that students pay the usual AUB tuition while studying abroad and those on financial aid continue to benefit from that support. Elite US institutions like Amherst, Reed, and Pitzer charge annual tuition of $50,000-plus, which means our students get a tremendous deal. International exchange agreements are also growing each year, with new bilateral agreements in Australia (U. of Sydney), Canada (HEC Montreal), Japan (Nagoya U.), South Korea (Hanyang U.), the Netherlands (Radboud), and Ireland (Trinity Dublin).  

Many exchange agreem​ents require that students cover their travel and living expenses, but other programs cover additional stipends for travel and living, through Erasmus+ or at the discretion of host universities. Students also have the opportunity to study abroad as a visiting student at any institution they get accepted to, paying that university's tuition. The motivated staff and peer advisers at AUB's Office of International Programs can help any student find the right place and program for them.​

Last year, about 100 students went on exchanges or study abroad during fall and spring, and more than 160 went abroad during the summer. The ones who went away this past fall are now back and sharing their experiences and adventures which show how enriching this opportunity is. They encountered new styles of education and teaching methods, took courses not offered at AUB, tried new extracurricular activities, like fencing and racquetball, immersed themselves in unfamiliar cultures, and met new people from wildly different backgrounds. One business student who spent a semester at IE in Spain had only one regret: not going abroad for the full year.
Without exception, returning students argued that the culture of studying abroad should become the norm at AUB. Incoming students need to hear about these opportunities early on so that they can begin discussing with their parents and advisers on how to plan for it. Professors can also help by encouraging students to go abroad, and assisting with the all-important course equivalency paperwork.  Together, we can help our students get the most out of their time at AUB, which can—and should—include some time studying outside AUB. 

Taken from AUB's President's Perspective issued on Friday, February 15, 2019.

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