Education abroad provides cultural opportunities

Michele Mathis and Michele Mathis

From Spain to England, from Australia to Japan, the Education Abroad office at the University is willing and able to help students fulfill their dreams of traveling abroad while gaining academic credit.

With hundreds of programs to choose from, students can travel to countries to learn new languages and cultures, gain volunteer experiences through service opportunities, study for a few weeks with specific professors or even tackle those tedious pre-requisites…all in a different country.

According to the University’s Education Abroad and International Partnership website, “It’s now or never.”

Some students might be nervous about GPA requirements or how they will adapt to life abroad. Luckily, the Education Abroad office, along with the Education Abroad and International Partnership website, is a quick and helpful resource.

Jenifer Chambers, the Director of Education Abroad and International Partnerships here at the University said, “As long as you have a 2.5 GPA, you should be able to go somewhere. We can find something for almost everyone.”

With information sessions held each day to accommodate every student’s schedule— lead by students and directors who have traveled abroad before— along with easy access to information on every single program online, students are set up to have no trouble finding a program suitable for them.

Chambers said, “When a student attends an [information] session, I want to make sure of two things: That they know all the possibilities and that [they] understand how it works.”

The Education Abroad office also has a Facebook Page “BGSU Education Abroad” where students can look at past student testimonials and get in touch with other students who have traveled abroad to help them make their decision.

Some students might be worried about finding the money to study abroad.

However, the Education Abroad programs are set up so students can use their FAFSA to be granted the same amount of financial for attending.

Chambers reassured that the myth about studying abroad will be too expensive is no longer a valid argument through the Education Abroad program.

“If you plan it right, it will be easy. You might even end up paying less, depending on the program,” she said.

With such strong Education Abroad programs, Chambers stressed the benefits of traveling abroad to further an education.

“At [their] age level, everyone has these big questions. When you go abroad, all the big questions are answered. It’s an impressive thing and it forces you to confront yourself,” said office aid for the office of Education Abroad and International Partnerships, Matt Brown.

He showed similar enthusiasm for students traveling abroad due to his experiences in France, Africa and Morocco.

He said, “It’s a life-changing experience. I can’t imagine what my life was like before I went…I wish I could study abroad again.”

Even though studying abroad can be scary, it can open doors to students, Chamber said. “It makes you marketable. It’s a good resume builder.”

If students are interested in studying abroad, the university accommodates them.

The process begins with information sessions that are given daily to fit into any curious student’s schedule.

There, students have the opportunity to address specific concerns about studying abroad if they are on the fence.

After a session, students can look at the Education and International Partnerships website under “Search Programs” to make a decision on a program that can fit their wants and needs.

After a student has found a program, they can email a program advisor found underneath “Contact Us” and schedule an appointment to be helped through the application process.

“It’s good to start early. It does require a little planning, and preferably the sooner the better,” Chambers said.