Got the urge to get out of Dodge? USU's Study Abroad program could be the ticket
LOGAN -- Increasing numbers of Utah State University students are packing up and leaving the country, at least temporarily.
The Study Abroad Program at USU offers students a chance to live and study in another country inexpensively.
"Many of our program fees are based on USU tuition, room and board," said Kay Forsyth, Director of the Study Abroad Program at USU. "It is very similar to the cost of living in the dorms and attending school here."
There are currently about 40 students on exchange programs through Study Abroad. That number is up from just 10 students five years ago.
"The summer programs are seeing a big increase as well. This summer we had about 100 participants, that was a huge jump from other years" said Forsyth.
So why are so many students deciding to study in another country?
According to Forsyth, the benefits of an abroad experience are great. Students have the opportunity to learn another language, experience another culture first hand and learn new skills.
"Being able to say that you learned and lived abroad looks great on resumes for jobs as well as graduate school," said Forsyth.
The benefits of living and studying abroad are not just academic. "I think the most important thing I learned was who I was and just exactly what I was made of," said Sarah Thornal, USU student and 1999 Study Abroad participant. "I felt like after I had traveled and lived in a different country at just 20 years old -- I could do anything. Not that I felt invincible, but I gained a sense of self confidence."
Students who live and study abroad agree that the experience broadens their view of their culture, and the world they live in.
"I gained a greater respect for those cultures beyond my back yard. We can read up on other countries all day long, but it was when I got to know the people and lived like everyone else did, that I felt like I understood more about places beyond America," says Cyndi Wren a senior at USU who attended the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. "I still keep in touch with people from Spain, Bosnia, Indonesia, Germany, Poland, England and Italy in addition to my Dutch friends."
The Study Abroad office offers diverse programs to suit every student's educational need and preferences. One such option is the International Student Exchange Program , or ISEP. This program is a direct exchange between colleges and universities here in the United States and schools all over the world. Students can choose to study anywhere from the United Kingdom to Ghana to Thailand.
"If anyone in the University has any inclination to live in a foreign country, this is one of the most accessible programs out there," said Wren. "The difference in what you would pay for a normal semester of school at USU and a semester abroad was a plane ticket and any extra traveling you wanted to do."
According to Forsyth, many students don't think they can study abroad because they don't know a language. They don't need to. Many of the programs are in English-speaking countries, or the University classes are conducted in English.
"Students think if they don't know a language, they are limited to going to the United Kingdom or Australia, but we offer English speaking opportunities all over Europe, Asia and there are even programs in Africa," said Forsyth.
There are many programs that fit every time frame. Students may not want to commit a year, or even a semester, to living abroad. The Study Abroad office features summer group programs in Latin America, Japan, England and Africa. These summer programs are led by USU professors, and are often related to specific field of study, such as philosophy, art, and languages.
The Study Abroad office offers more than just programs. They also provide support for students thinking of going abroad for any reason. They sell International Student Identification Cards that provide students with many discounts on museums, transportation and lodging while in Europe. The ISIC card also insures students in any country.
"Any question a student has we will help find an answer. We want to be a resource for students," Forsyth said.
For more information on programs and deadlines, please contact the Study Abroad office at 797-8018.