Students share study abroad experiences

Nicole Weible

Committee members discuss programs, funding at workshop

Studying abroad can help students meet LER requirements while receiving what two students call “the experience of a lifetime.”

The Study Abroad Committee of the Kent Academic Student Advising Association provided a workshop yesterday to discuss study abroad for students.

Sarah Malcolm, chairwoman of study abroad and academic adviser of the College Arts and Sciences, said the committee is aiming toward educating advisers to discuss study abroad with their students. Most students aren’t aware that almost all majors are able to receive academic credit and complete LERs in other countries.

A student panel started the workshop by discussing their experiences abroad. David Pirtle, a 2005 psychology graduate, shared his study abroad experience with the advisers.

“Six credit hours in four weeks was pretty nice,” Pirtle said. “The excursions were also amazing.”

Pirtle traveled to Cuernavaca, Mexico, last summer to receive academic credit for Intermediate Spanish I and II. The Cuernavaca students stayed with host families while they studied Spanish. Pirtle said he let go of all his stereotypes of Mexico. He stayed with a host family and two other students from Texas. The host families provided the students with a ride to school each day, three meals and a room. The students were able to see the pyramids, natural springs and beaches.

“Students are more marketable when they study abroad,” Pirtle said. “We can work with people from all over the world and adapt better to their cultures.”

Jessica Stayton, senior integrated math major, shared the experience she received last year, after spending a semester in England.

“It is going to look really good on my resume,” Stayton said. “I feel more independent and confident from study abroad.”

Pirtle and Stayton both explained students aren’t always aware of the experiences they can receive from study abroad. Both students agreed there is so much students can gain. After catching the “travel bug,” the two are looking for the next opportunity to study abroad.

“I’ve already decided I’m going back this summer,” Stayton said. “I want to visit all of my friends.”

Funding was another important issue discussed during the workshop. The members discussed each study abroad program and the LER credits that can transfer from the programs. Students are able to choose the courses they would like to take during a semester abroad.

Funding was another important issue discussed during the workshop. Malcolm said most students are concerned with finances, but Pirtle and Stayton both explained their scholarships paid for part of the tuition to study abroad. Students can also file for financial aid. There is a certain date that students can complete FAFSA forms to receive financial aid for their trip.

“All students should do something like this” Pirtle said. “You can’t put a price on a study abroad experience.”

Contact international affairs reporter Nicole Weible at [email protected].