International universities enhance independence, broaden perspectives

Art by Cherianne Yoon
Art by Cherianne Yoon

When former Paly student Diana Narancic applied to colleges during her senior year, international schools didn’t cross her mind until she started researching opportunities online. 

Narancic, who attends the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, said she chose to study abroad because of the opportunity to gain a new global perspective.

“I chose to study abroad because my university offered me to study the program in which I was interested in pursuing,” Narancic said. “And the opportunities that allow me to broaden my horizons.”
However, Narancic said she faced many challenges abroad — one  being homesickness for her family, friends and life in America. 

“I did experience a lot of homesickness the first year,” Narancic said. “However, the school is very international. A lot of other students who I met were also going through the same adjustment, which made the transition easier and I felt more comfortable and welcomed.”

Liza Miezejeski, who attends Anglo-American University in Prague, Czech Republic after graduating high school in Connecticut, said she chose to attend school abroad due to the cost and a strong desire to travel.

“I was initially motivated mostly by a fear of student debt associated with going to college in the United States,” Miezejeski said. “Tuition was much more affordable across Europe and I could graduate with a bachelor’s degree in three years instead of four. I also considered that with an increasingly globalized world having this international experience would help me stand out in the job market.”

Once she discovered international universities, Miezejeski said she quickly transitioned to researching study abroad programs that offered programs taught in English. 

“I did tons of research on U.S. accredited schools in France, Germany and the UK,” Miezejeski said. “Eventually, after meeting with a college admissions counselor from Beyond The States, a platform that helps you discover international college degrees, we found the right college match for me, which was in Prague.” 

Miezejeski said she submitted her application to the school through a seamless process requiring a resume, letter of recommendation, transcript and responses to short essay questions. Miezejeski said the Anglo-American University was the only school she applied to during her senior year. 

“Once I completed the application and received my response, the school required me to submit my final high school diploma,” Miezejeski said. “And before I knew it, I was buying a one way ticket.”

After completing her bachelor’s degree, Miezejeski went on to receive her master’s from Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium, where she now lives and works as a web analyst, content strategist and international education advocate. 

Miezejeski said students who are currently applying to colleges should research all opportunities. 

“Do your research and don’t be afraid to reach out to people for help and advice,” Miezejeski said. “ If you want to study internationally full time just remember that it can be incredibly difficult at times, but if it’s right for you, it will also be the most rewarding experience of your life.”

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