Studying Abroad at SCSU
Courtney Luciana – Special to the Southern News
With Southern’s representation of a diverse campus, students have remained to stand firm on their Europe central mindsets. Despite the university’s representation of various backgrounds, the culture shock has relentlessly molded solid.
“The United Kingdom was the most popular study-abroad destination for U.S. students, with 12.2 percent going there in the 2011-12 academic year, followed by Italy (10.5 percent), Spain (9.3 percent) and France (6.1 percent),” said a Pew Study.
The Institute of International Education, a New York-based nonprofit that founded this Pew Study said nearly 820,000 international students were registered throughout U.S. colleges and universities opposed to the 283,332 U.S. students studying abroad in 2012-13.
The Global Ambassadors Symposium that took place in the Engleman auditorium on Feb 24. displayed a panel of several study abroad alumni. Albin Salazar, senior, who studied abroad in Thailand, said regardless of the country’s substantial economic state the people have continued to flourish throughout their culture’s mannerisms.
When Salzar witnessed how “everyone in the area would smile at one another just because,” he discovered just how easily misconceptions are made.
In advance, the multicultural summer exchange program is offering students the chance to take on travel writing in Laos, Southeast Asia. Despite students having the chance to travel throughout The Lao People’s Democratic Republic, rice fields, and the Blue Lagoon not one individual has signed up.
Brendan Walsh, international educationalist, said the low outcome is a shame because the experience will be one in a million. “I suppose it’s the cultural shock,” said Walsh, “that scares the idea away from people.”
With Europe being a popular location to visit, less-developed countries are often overlooked. Kristen Leigh, graduate assistant for the study abroad center, said a lot of fear of not understanding foreign languages outweighs the benefits.
“What most students don’t understand is that each program offered will include someone who speaks English when that student reaches their location,” said Leigh. “It’s the same concept of how support systems are offered for students in the U.S.”
Leigh said students will shoot down the idea of studying abroad altogether before they analyze the possibilities logically. However, studying abroad through Southern’s program is approximately the same as the standard tuition rate.
Ironically, the institute of International Education’s Pew study said in 2013 China was the leading source of foreign students studying in the U.S. with 235,587 students, 28.7 percent total. India followed up with 11.8 percent, South Korea being 8.6 percent, and Saudi Arabia holding 5.4 percent.
Meaghan Tetro, a global ambassador panelist who studied abroad in Italy, said that her trip made evident of how more advanced the U.S.’s system is built. Tetro said it is not that Italy is set in the caveman days but citizens of the U.S. do not realize just how much more is offered.
Tetro said the advances not only cover technology and education. Despite the current uproar of protests going on in the U.S. throughout the election she found our government allows individuals to be free.
“It’s more recently that women in Italy feel that they hold meaning throughout governed decisions,” said Tetro. “I still think there are fractures throughout the U.S.’s system but my whole perception shifted completely after my trip.”
Altogether, the global ambassadors panelists said the experiences and lessons they learned throughout their trips will never delude. Regardless of Europe preserving as a common location to visit, all of the panelists said they agree in being confident in their abilities to take on any global epidemics they will face.
Photo Credit: Damian Bariexca