Today, I am going to the Italian capital to visit the American University of Rome, a small college in the charming neighborhood of Trastevere. AUR is one of a handful of American-styled institutions overseas that include the American Universities of Paris, Cairo and Beirut, along with others like Richmond University outside of London. They offer coursework and degrees just like the kinds you would get in the US, accredited by the same agencies to ensure quality.
Why would you go to these colleges? It might seem strange to go overseas to get what is offered here. You might be skeptical about a liberal education, so why double that problem with going international? Who does that?
The last question offers one of the best reasons to consider this option. The students who choose to get a college degree overseas are a fascinating, adventurous group you would love to know. They are truly international, coming from dozens of countries, with American often representing less than half the student body. Compare that to any of the most internationally minded colleges in the US, where well below 10%, often less than 5%, of the student are from overseas. You can really learn from your classmates if you go to college overseas.
There are other good reasons. Most of these institutions are small, with faculty who have led interesting and unconventional careers. They offer a very different perspective on life and education than you might see in the US, and they are keenly focused on the student. That might contrast with large research universities in the States. You are likely to find mentors that will shape your life forever, rather admire your professors from afar.
Naturally, this choice turns study abroad on its head, putting you overseas for most or all of your four years. If you are hungering for something different, you will be able to really learn a foreign language, letting it infuse you to a point of unconscious comfort. I bet you’re uncomfortable right now with you fluency in French, worried someone will discover you are not prepared for conversation. Now think what happens after years in Paris!
Life in college should change your world view. It’s something I argue in Dean’s List, and the students at the American University of Rome and Richmond University live that idea every day. Take a look, take a risk, and change your life.