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The study abroad curriculum is typically not as rigorous as that of students’ home university. Rightfully so. Students should spend their time immersing themselves in their local culture and meeting people. Yet, the relaxed tone of curriculum mixed with a newfound sense of freedom has resulted in a stereotype of what it means to study abroad. The words are now met with ideas of partying, traveling, shopping, and relaxing.
It’s time for this stereotype to be challenged. Consider the immigration crisis in Europe, the election in the United States, and the divide within Britain (just to name a few). If we, as millennials, have any hope of addressing and conquering the issues our world is facing, we must have a deeper appreciation for other cultures. This is why studying abroad is such a powerful tool.
To those planning on or currently studying abroad, I challenge you to take your experience a step further. Truly act as an ambassador for your country. Here are some -suggestions to help take your study abroad a step further and mend the relationships among cultures.

Shaheen Siddiqui
British Council Ambassador to Cambridge University for Islamic Religion and Culture