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Student Sheds Light on Study Abroad Benefits

Last updated on November 13, 2023

Studying abroad is a life-changing experience for students as they explore and immerse themselves in different countries and cultures. Zoe Phillips is the latest Dallas College product to experience the benefits as she works toward a bachelor’s degree at Kansai Gaidai University in Hirakata, Japan.

“Studying abroad has been really impactful,” she said. “It opens your mind to see the world from a different perspective. Just getting out of your normal day-to-day life and putting yourself in a situation that is unlike anything you’ve experienced before, it really forces you to think about your goals, your motivations, even your morals.”

Phillips went on to say that every student should pursue study abroad opportunities, something that is available for students through Dallas College’s Office of International Engagement and Global Competitiveness. Recent trips include culinary students studying in Rennes, France in Summer 2023. The IEGC office also puts on in-country learning experiences such as a Civil Rights Tour in Spring 2023 where students visited historical sites from Jackson, Mississippi to Selma, Alabama.

Add Phillips and her fellow classmates studying in Japan to the list.

For Phillips, it’s been a relatively seamless transition into a new culture with welcoming professors and classmates. Most importantly, the work in the classroom has been worthwhile for her career goals. She is part of the school’s College of Global Engagement and the courses she’s enrolled in center on business and management across cultures.

So, for someone who wants to start a worldwide circus one day, it’s the perfect fit. Seriously, Phillips has visions of creating a Cirque du Soleil-type show that travels across the world.

“Everyone always asks me, ‘What animals will you have?’ No animals! Just a high-quality circus with original music, original plots,” she said, smiling. “I really just want something that allows adults to be children again. It’s so frustrating to see adults grow up and not allow themselves to dream, not do things that are still in their heart. I feel like a circus brings that out of even the most hardened person.”

Dallas College Days

Phillips credits Dallas College for its role in helping her land at Kansai Gaidai University. Specifically, Phillips recalled the Japanese course she took with professor Jiajun Bracewell and the lasting impact it made.

“She was the most supportive professor ever,” Phillips said. “I took her class during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the class itself was very hands off but she as a professor was very hands-on. She was great, and she was the one who told me about this program at Kansai Gaidai.”

Phillips, who went from earning her associate degree at Dallas College as a dual-credit student to a bachelor’s degree at the University of Tulsa to now pursuing a second bachelor’s degree at Kansai Gaidai University, added that all of her professors at Dallas College left a favorable impression similar to Bracewell.

“Some of the best English and math classes that I’ve taken were with Dallas College,” said Phillips, who was a dual-credit student through Lakeview Centennial High School’s Collegiate Academy’s partnership with Dallas College.

“The professors were passionate, and really cared about teaching us.”

Zoe Phillips with her housemates at Kansai Gaidai University in Hirakata, Japan.

This story and others like it can be found in the Student Newsletter. Check your Dallas College email to see the latest edition.

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