Why everyone should study abroad

Tues., Feb. 19, was a day where anyone interested in traveling abroad could check out several stations for study abroad programs that were set up in the main square of Wyllie near the library. The options that were available to look into to study abroad included Germany, Japan, India, China, Scotland, and more. Many people, including teachers and students, who have gone abroad before were more than happy to explain the program and answer any questions one may have regarding studying abroad. While there won’t be another Study Abroad Fair very soon, don’t be alarmed. While the fair is over, there are still plenty of opportunities to learn more about the programs available, as well as the finances needed to take on such a studious adventure.

While looking through the different stations at the fair, I had the pleasure of talking to Dr. Consuela Clemens, who is the person you want to go to with any and all questions regarding the study abroad programs available to Parkside students. Dr. Clemens is the head of the International Studies program and also the Study Abroad program at Parkside, and is usually available to help with questions in the Study Abroad Office which is located in Greenquist 201 (262-595-2701). The information she was able to provide to me in just a short meeting was copious, so I can only assume that an actual meeting in the office would be extremely beneficial to anyone considering studying abroad. One of the things I found most interesting was just how lucky Parkside students are in terms of opportunities for studying abroad. There are three tiers of opportunities. The first tier consists of abroad programs offered through Parkside, including Mexico, Iceland, Cuba, Spain, and many more. If a student has an interest in studying abroad somewhere that isn’t offered through Parkside, then they have the opportunities available to them through tier two, which allows the student to pick from an abroad program offered through other schools in the UW system. There is also tier three which consists of third party offers, but no matter what tier the program a student chooses from, there is always money available to help with the trip.

Dr. Clemens informed me that one of their goals is to appeal to the students that think they will never be able to do a study abroad program because of the money it costs to do so. In fact, there are several options to look into for financial aid (including grants, scholarships, and others) that Dr. Clemens and those involved in the Study Abroad Office are more than happy to help students find and access in order to allow them to go abroad where they so choose.

One of the things I was curious about in terms of Studying Abroad was who is eligible to go, or in other words, what field of study must a student be in to benefit from studying abroad. Luckily I was able to talk to Bryan, who has been to China and Japan several times through the Study Abroad Program, and was able to answer my question and then some. Bryan informed me that with the China program, most of the students who attend it are in Business, International Studies, or working on their MBA. This should not discourage anyone else from attending, however, because he did inform me that they once had an art major go with them and were even able to adjust their schedule some in order to make it work for the art major. Potentially anyone can go, and Bryan said he would encourage them to do so.

Bryan told me that with China, you get immersed in their culture so quick and it is such a different one than ours in America, and this makes for a different trip every time he goes. This is also why he recommends it to others that may not be in business or working on a MBA because while they will visit the factories such as Nike, they also experience so much of the culture, like meeting a real life Geisha, which has become extremely rare, according to Bryan. So the opportunity is there for anyone interested, all a student has to do is stop by the Study Abroad Office or give them a call to start getting more information.

Article by Jimmy Gibbs

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