BGSU Study abroad department pushes for increase in numbers

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For junior Sara Othersen, studying abroad didn’t only offer the chance to see the world, but the chance for her to expand herself as a person.

Othersen is spending the year in Salzburg, Austria.

“I feel that it’s important to broaden my world view and my horizons,” according to an email from Othersen.

An international studies major, Othersen chose to study abroad in Austria to better her German skills.

For Othersen, studying abroad is a life-changing event.

“Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The experiences that you have when studying abroad are things that you will remember for the rest of your life,” Othersen said.

Students have many opportunities to study abroad through both the University and through other programs not affiliated with the University. Along with scholarships, student financial aid money can also go to paying for studying abroad.

In order to get students involved in studying abroad, the Education Abroad offices have also come up with different ways of getting students interested in studying abroad.

“[We had a] very successful study abroad fair this year. The University is following national trends, but there is a high percentage of students who go on BGSU programs,” said Jenifer Chambers, the director of Education Abroad and International Partnerships.

The Education Abroad offices have increased interest on campus about studying abroad by offering different programs, some of which are through the University and some that are not, Chambers said. The offices have also sent students abroad during the summer for classes, along with faculty-led programs, she said.

On the international level, strategic plans have been made in order to increase the number of students who are studying at the University from another country to students from the University studying abroad.

The different plans to bring international students to the University include visiting high schools and recruiting fairs in various countries.

And it’s not only the international department that is doing the legwork to get international students interested in the University.

“There is a lot of faculty who go on conferences abroad and take material [about the University],” said Marcia Salazar-Valentine, the executive director of the Division of Enrollment Management.

Chambers has even studied abroad herself.

“Education abroad is more than a trip, but a life-changing trip in so many ways,” Chambers said.