Students study abroad by different means

Students can have vastly different experiences when studying abroad, depending on the programs or classes they take.

There are several ways a student can study abroad. Whether that be enrolling themselves in a foreign program, or using one of the University’s programs through the Education Abroad Office.

Studying in another country can be exciting, and frustrating as well. While some students have to overcome the culture shock of a new country, most say that being surrounded with a different atmosphere is one of the best things you can do for internal growth.

Senior Megan Stahl spent a summer in a directing program at the MET Film School in Berlin, Germany.

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She said there were some struggles that she had to overcome while being away from home, but the overall experience was worth it.

“I wasn’t used to the city life, or even public transportation,” Stahl said. “It took a few weeks to adjust, but once I got comfortable, it was the best time of my life.”

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Stahl enrolled in the program on her own, unaffiliated with the University or Study Abroad Office, and she said the program was relatively cheap compared to tuition in the U.S.

She has used her experience since returning to Bowling Green.

Stahl said she is working on a short film this semester called “Holy Toledo” and has used lots of her study abroad experience to help her in that project.

The short film will be premiering in the Gish.

She said her study abroad experience has infected her with the urge to travel. After she finished her program she was able to visit the Netherlands, England and the Czech Republic.

“The world is my oyster, and I’m excited to see even more different countries,” Stahl said.

Junior pre-med neuroscience and chemistry student Hayley Ruff also traveled the Netherlands, studying neuroscience and fulfilling her humanities credits at the University’s partner, VU Amsterdam. She lived in Amsterdam for six months but didn’t have the best experience when it came to the academics and credit transfers.

“[VU Amsterdam] was awful in terms of communicating, and their grade scale did not convert well to ours,” Ruff said.

She said she also had issues getting support from the University education abroad program back home.

“They switched abroad advisors mid-way through my process, lost all my paperwork and made me start from square one with the semester only being a month from ending,” Ruff said.

She said she had sent multiple emails and calls that went unanswered while she was in Amsterdam, and didn’t have much luck communicating when she got home either.

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“They’d either direct me to another department, and [then] they would all inevitably direct me back to study abroad. Who would then basically say ‘sorry about your luck,’” Ruff said.

Ruff said she has always loved to travel, and still does, but she recommends people to save up money and travel during their summers rather than while they are in school.

She said that some students probably do have good experiences with the University Education Abroad Program, but she has heard from several students that were also disappointed.

The University Education Abroad Program did not return interview requests.

According to the University website, there are hundreds of study abroad opportunities in over 40 countries, which can be done for a single semester or a whole year. There are also short term programs where students can travel with other University travelers and professors to experience a different culture.

The University also has partnerships with 44 different universities in 21 countries, as well as internship and co-op opportunities.