Many students have a desire to study abroad when they first arrive in college, but they do not necessarily know how to or what steps they need to take to begin the process. To start the process, students should first start by scheduling a meeting at the office of international programs and talk with a coordinator within the office or browse the website and look through all of the different abroad programs that are available. Aspen Ford, Tahlequah junior, was able to spend some of her freshman year abroad in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“I decided to go because I knew it would be beneficial and the decision felt completely right,” said Ford. “I decided to go to Puerto Rico because it had a lot of things I liked. They spoke Spanish [and] I wanted to become fluent. They had hot weather, beaches and wildlife.”
When preparing to study abroad, students must gather many different documents. These prerequisites may include a passport, visa and airfare tickets. Students may also need to complete a currency exchange or phone plan change.
“The process can be time consuming and take a lot of effort, but it is completely worth the trouble,” said Ford. “Just be patient, yet persistent. The tasks can be daunting, but people are there to help you along the way.”
There are several different programs that students can utilize to study abroad including going faculty-led trips and direct/exchange programs through different partner institutions. A few of those partner institutions include ISEP, Cisabroad, APIabroad, CIEE and the Peace Corps. Dr. Karen Carey, professor of education and honors program director, will lead the honors program and a group of students to Paris, France. Students will get the opportunity to tour landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Sacre-Coeur Basilica and the Bohemian Montmartre.
“We hope to gain a deeper understanding of French food, language, art and culture as students immerse themselves in the City of Light,” said Carey. “I believe studying abroad is a rich educational experience for all college students. It is also an important component and basic characteristic for a fully developed honors program.”
For students who may not want to go abroad any time soon but would like to surround themselves with people from different cultural backgrounds can join the International Student Organization. ISO has a purpose of bringing the nations together to create an appreciation for diversity as well as making friends from all around the world. The organization is open to all members and encourages students to join and help the organization grow. Angel Stark, Pryor freshman, is the president of ISO and wants to go abroad sometime while she is in college.
“I think it would be really cool getting to learn about all these different cultures and getting to meet all these different people from overseas before I actually go somewhere else,” said Stark. “I am looking forward to all of the activities that we are all going to do. We are going to become friends and I love making friends and making people feel involved.”
Students that would like to go abroad can email the office of international programs at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their webpage on the NSU website.