Derek Osowski studied abroad in fall 2011 at the European University Viadrina in Spain. Osowski won the Sun Devil Spirit photo contest for his photo of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. (Photo courtesy of Derek Osowski)
ASU has introduced new programs for students looking to study abroad and immerse themselves in new cultures to gain experience
Adam Henry, interim director of the ASU Study Abroad Office, said six new programs are available this academic year. Colleges and schools requested the programs, which were specifically designed for particular populations of students.
“Our new faculty-directed programs are introduced and proposed by ASU faculty who have specific research interests in a certain topic or country, along with the goal of having students from these disciplines be more exposed to their field of study in an international context,” he said. “ASU desires to see students be able to solve local and global problems.”
Henry said interest in study abroad is growing among students, and they have spoken to thousands of students seeking opportunities abroad during fall welcome events.
Communication major Allyse Johnson studied abroad in London at the University of Westminster. Johnson studied many subjects, including media policy, museums and women's studies.
“I think it will help me get a job," Johnson said. "I'm able to describe to employers situations that demonstrate my intercultural competence and willingness to learn and work hard outside of my comfort zone. I can show employers that I am able to thrive in challenging situations."
Studying abroad gives students the chance to live in another country, gain independence and experience a new culture and lifestyle, Henry said.
Global health and biochemistry junior Annie Richards studied abroad in Chennai, India, in the summer of 2013. Richards fulfilled her global health study abroad requirement by teaching HIV and AIDS awareness to children in slums and schools through an organization called International Alliance for the Prevention of AIDS.
“During my time abroad ... I experienced India's school system, their public transportation, their food and the selfless hospitality of all of the local people,” she said. “I was also exposed to extreme poverty and learned a lot myself as a person from dealing with this.”
The study abroad office offers more than 90 travel grants for students who apply for the grant with high need and strong academic merit.
Since paying for study abroad programs can be a barrier for students, the study abroad office also offers two workshops a month, community-based funding ideas and help for students who want to learn how to use their scholarship and grant money effectively, Henry said.
“Students indicate that they gain new knowledge and expertise, independence, cultural understanding, the opportunity to discover new places, a competitive edge upon graduation ... while at the same time receiving ASU course credit,” Henry said.
Many students felt that studying abroad, though not a required college experience, increased their post-college job chances, Henry said.
“Students who study abroad tell us that they, on average, have an easier time securing a job upon graduation because they have a "stand out" academic experience on their résumé,” he said.
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