For some Eagle students, the simple act of going off to college is a bit of a foreign experience. But for other students, having their entire college experience take place in just one location isn’t quite enough.
Some people who want to go further in their academic, personal or professional development choose to farther away physically thanks to MSU’s Education Abroad Program and tend to get a way more positive experience than they could have imagined in the process.
MSU’s Education Abroad program consists of mostly faculty-led programs that allow students to travel and study internationally. This is done through organizations like the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad (CCSA) and the Kentucky Institute of International Studies (KIIS), with expenses oftentimes covered through financial aid and scholarships. The duration of Education Abroad excursions can range from four-to-six weeks in the summer to an entire semester and can include trips to Mexico, Turkey and numerous European countries, to name a few.
Dr. Kristina DuRocher, professor of history and interim director of MSU Education Abroad, said students who participate in the program almost always have a 100 percent retention and graduation rate while gaining both a cultural sensitivity and appreciation for other parts of the world.
“These aren’t really places, they are also people,” DuRocher said. “It becomes something where people sort of understand how exciting it is to explore new places and meet new people instead of sometimes fear it.
As part of the MSU Honors Program, Jonathan Dean has not only fulfilled the program’s mandatory study abroad requirement, he went abroad a second time for his own personal benefit. The history major and native of Wilmore, Kentucky, first ventured off to Denmark through the Kentucky Education Excellence Scholarship (KEES) before traveling to Italy a year later with DuRocher through KIIS.
“I think it’s really important to go somewhere that’s completely different to you and fit in really well,” Dean said. “You pick up on learning cultural norms and to cooperate with people that are different from you.”
Madison Wallace, a senior strategic communication major from Frankfort, Kentucky, completed an eight-week summer internship at The Works PR, a public relations firm based in Dublin, Ireland. She said she not only gained work experience for when she enters the job market, she gained confidence in her abilities to adapt to her surroundings.
“I think the international experience is so beneficial,” she said. “Coming back here, it just made me want to start traveling and experiencing more and continue to step outside of my comfort zone.”
MSU Education Abroad is a program that helps bring Eagle students to other parts of the world for academic and personal fulfillment, providing opportunity to venture over physical boundaries that helps to broaden and deepen a student’s perspective and understanding.
“All of us who have had the opportunity to have overseas experience know what a life-changing experience it is,” said Dr. Phillip Krummrich, professor of comparative literature and director of the MSU Honors Program. “What I always say is when you go overseas, there’s more to you than there used to be.”