Expanding horizons: Study abroad ups perspective

Thousands of students each year travel to foreign nations to gain a unique educational experience that might be otherwise unobtainable. Shippensburg University offers its students such opportunities through its study abroad program.

Some of the most popular study abroad destinations are Australia, England and Italy. Mary Burnett, associate dean of students and director of international programs, said that she and other international programs staff members assist students to determine exactly what destination is the best fit for them. Things that students have to think about are what they hope to achieve by studying abroad and how it fits within their educational and career goals. There are skills that students learn while studying abroad that are very beneficial in all career paths. “Studying abroad teaches students a love of travel, languages and culture,” Burnett said. “It also teaches navigation and communication skills.” Independence is another skill that is learned by studying abroad.

Studying abroad does have its difficulties. It can be expensive after adding up travel costs, room and board, tuition and any other fees that students will have to pay while studying in another country. The international program assists students in figuring out how to pay for the program. Although not true for all cases, some students already have scholarships that are transferable to whatever university they choose to attend while studying abroad. It should be noted, however, that not all scholarships can be used when studying abroad.

Burnett said that she personally has not worked with many students who have done fundraisers to pay for their international studies, although she has heard of some students who have received donations through programs similar to Kickstarter to cover some of the cost.

Hubert Sence, a student from France who is attending Shippensburg University as part of a study abroad program, said that it is a good experience being able to gain an education in another country. Sence previously attended La Rochelle Business School in France. He chose to study here to get the opportunity to learn about and experience the American culture. Sence said that studying here has helped him improve his English communication skills.

A study abroad fair was held Thursday, Sept., 18. Students who attended were able to meet with representatives of the study abroad program and gain valuable information regarding studying abroad.

In case students missed the study abroad fair, there are weekly meetings that are held in the Ceddia Union Building in which students can receive the information necessary to study abroad. The meetings are held every Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. The exact locations of the meetings can be found on Shippensburg University’s website on the International Programs page. Students can also schedule an appointment with Mary Burnett by emailing MEBurnett@ship.edu.

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