For some students, the thought of pursuing a degree in Biology brings back bad memories of frog dissections or endless lists of mnemonic devices for the order of taxonomy, like "King Phillip Cries Out For Good Soup" (let's be honest: it never really helped in the end). While a Biology degree does challenge students to understand living organisms (the frogs included!), the field of study also provides graduates many opportunities.
Biology is the study of life, and it is a great option for students interested in learning how and why things work. From a very basic level, Biology majors gain understanding of the functions and diversity amongst living organisms.
Biology is the fastest-growing field of science today. Its impacts are numerous, from medicine and health care, to the environment and climate changes, to global population and food sources. For some students, a Biology degree is the first step towards becoming a doctor. Others choose to become research scientists, teachers, lawyers, physicians, dentists - the list goes on and on! However, one thing is for certain: a study abroad experience will have a positive impact on any number of your academic and professional careers!
Conducting research abroad and being exposed to different ecosystems, bioregions, and specialties is an added benefit for Biology majors looking to make the most of their time abroad. Even if you have strict degree requirements or a heavy course load, studying abroad is possible! Consider participating in a short-term study abroad program in the summer, or choosing a program that directly correlates with your field of interest.
Because your field is reliant on scientific experts across the globe working together, it is increasingly critical that young scientists entering the field can work and communicate cross-culturally. Global Links Abroad
Studying abroad is a worthwhile investment - get involved! Let's see what the Biology majors themselves have to say about their experiences overseas.
Studied abroad in Namibia
"I chose this program, through Augsburg College, because of the dedication to truly blending the classroom learning with cultural experiences in the community. We were able to have three homestays in very different environments, which allowed for a greater understanding of the experience of much of the Namibian population. Furthermore, this program was able to provide me with an internship in the medical field along with my other coursework. I truly value my study abroad experience and I believe that employers and graduate schools do as well. You have so many formative experiences that you have already learned many valuable skills that employers are looking for in a strong applicant."
Wished she'd studied abroad in Spain
"I think experiencing other cultures makes you a more well rounded person and allows you to be more understanding to the people that you encounter. In the profession of a physician’s assistant, I think it is crucial to have an understanding of the ideas of other cultures. I would tell incoming Biology majors that they need to talk with their advisers to set up a plan so that they can travel abroad without it interfering with too much of their planned curriculum."
"It was absolutely fantastic seeing the world before sending off for medical school. I don't regret studying abroad at all. There are people in medical school that will not get to travel for several more years, because of the rigors and expectations of the medical field...I actually had a really great med-school interview at IU because one of the interviewers spoke German. We clicked immediately and were able to break the ice over the topic of Germany. I'd say it contributed to getting me into med school!
"I am very interested in medical missions abroad. Even if your study abroad trip is only for two weeks, I ABSOLUTELY suggest that students take advantage of it! I have had many opportunities to be around Spanish, but never to be really immersed. Studying abroad captures that. Without studying abroad, you will never truly understand the ecological makeup of the world we live in. Get goin'!"
Battle Creek, MI
Wished she'd studied abroad in New Zealand
"I wanted to study abroad but I did not feel like I had the resources available at the time. I thought about it junior year and wish that I had followed through with it. Had I investigated further, I would have found that it would have been very doable... I regret not doing a study abroad program for the diversity of learning and cultural experiences that I missed out on. Seeing the world's rich environmental and biological diversity would be a great asset to your college learning experience. Having worldly experience would better prepare a biology/ecology/environmental science major for the many different places he/she may travel to."
Studied abroad in Spain
"Being pre-med and studying abroad are usually mutually exclusive, but I refused to let that be the case for me. I also refused to not finish college in four years. While I really love the sciences, I have passions for other not-so-sciencey things like the humanities, social justice, and language study. Pursuing a Spanish major and studying abroad were the perfect counterbalance for all that science coursework. My only regret is that I wish I could have fit a [whole] year of study abroad into my schedule."
Some of you may have the mentality that studying abroad provides a serious "lack of science courses" or courses that will "fulfill your science requirements to graduate on time" - think again! I would like to politely direct you to our database of programs specifically for BIOLOGY MAJORS!
Check out your options and take advantage of any opportunities, whether they be two weeks or two semesters! Biology majors can benefit from study abroad - and you could be one of them!
Ready? Explore biology study abroad programs.