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Summer study abroad builds new perspectives across disciplines

Medicine Hat College students prepare for study abroad programs in South Korea, India, and Japan.

Those with aspirations to travel, earn extra credits and gain a new perspective, may find an open door with the study abroad program at Medicine Hat College (MHC). With opportunities to spend their summers in South Korea, India, and Japan, twelve students are about to discover this for themselves. 

Mason Pocsik, a first-year university transfer: science student, will be travelling outside of North America for the first time as he explores South Korea. Studying on a full scholarship, he will attend Dankook University for a four-week program.  

“Travelling has always been a pretty big interest in my life and learning about other cultures has also interested me a lot; learning all the different traditions they have that I don't really get to see much here in Canada,” says Pocsik. 

During his time abroad, he is taking courses in intercultural communication and social media on a global context to help immerse him in the culture.

“What really interested me in these courses is for one of the group projects, we actually get to go and make a short YouTube video talking to vendors and locals about what life is like in South Korea,” says Pocsik. “That was a big interest for me because I really want to learn about their culture and I thought that was a really great way to do that.”

Learning to work with those from other cultures is an asset to Pocsik, as he continues his studies and approaches career opportunities.   

“Since I’m trying to go into the sciences, I could end up working with people all around the world. This could allow me to meet other students and professors who I could then work with in a future career,” says Pocsik. “It’ll give me a better understanding of how to work with people of different cultures, who have different ideas, and overall just have a completely different upbringing than myself.”

Second-year bachelor of education student, Jaxson Jangula, echoes this sentiment as he prepares to travel to India in June. Receiving the Shastri Alberta Students to India (SASI) grant from the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (SICI) has made taking part in the two-month internship in Jaipur attainable. 

“I expect to gain a broader global perspective about the world,” says Jangula, who looks forward to understanding a new culture, while also getting to know himself better in the process. “In the past when I’ve travelled, I feel like I've come back knowing myself a little bit better, and I definitely expect more of that as well.”

By getting out of his comfort zone, Jangula hopes to motivate others to take the opportunity to do the same.

“As a teacher, I want to inspire my students to dream big and try new things. I can't think of a better way to do that than by traveling, going to a foreign culture, and embracing it,” says Jangula. 

He also believes the ability to make connections with his students and peers will become easier with the experience. 

While some are taking the opportunity to amplify their college experience, others will learn about their own heritage. Zachary Fischer is a first-year art and design student who will be studying at Osaka Gakuin University in Japan. 

“I was born in Japan and moved when I was two or three years old,” says Fischer. “I don't really know that much about Japan, so I’m excited to take that opportunity to learn more.”

Enjoying Japanese cuisine, learning some of the language, and meeting new people, are all experiences he looks forward to having during his two-week study abroad experience. 

As an artist who enjoys painting, drawing, sculpting, and digital design, Fischer expects the experience will help shape his work as he completes his program. 

“I think it will maybe give me inspiration for new projects and definitely give me a new perspective on life.”

To learn more about the study abroad program at MHC, visit www.mhc.ab.ca.