MSU Encourages Studying Abroad
Understanding the benefits of studying abroad and being culturally knowledgeable
Studying abroad gives MSU students a chance to travel, live in a different country and understand a culture different than their own.
Why Study in a Different Country?
MSU has a variety of programs and services to send students to the international destination of their choice. There is so much in the world to see besides your own back door.
Student, Shelly Fromm, speaks about why she decided to study in Germany for a semester:
“I wanted to practice my German speaking skills,” Fromm explains. “I did not feel like I was getting the appropriate experience within the classroom alone.”
The process may seem overwhelming, but it is well worth every step. Studying abroad creates the opportunity to live in another country for six months to a year which becomes more difficult in later stages of life.
Advantages of studying abroad include:
- Opportunity to learn a new language
- Understand a new culture
- Develop skills not provided in a classroom setting
- Meet others around the world and make new friends
- Opportunity to travel to surrounding cities or countries
Decreased Number in Study Abroad Interest
Unfortunately, not as many students study abroad as the University would hope. The number of students studying abroad in the 2010-2011 school year is the lowest it has been in ten years at 212 students while the 2008-2009 school year sent off 338 students.
Caryn Lindsay, Director of International Programs, discussed her experience and thoughts on why students do not go abroad. Lindsay said the drop in study abroad students may be due to the economy or lack of understanding of available programs.
Lindsay states, “I think the main reason students do not study abroad is fear. Travel is so far out of their element, and they are uneasy about being out of their comfort zone.”
On the other hand, Lindsay explains she has not heard one student coming back saying they regret taking the leap. Most students come back actually experiencing reverse culture shock which is the idea that upon returning, they expect to pick up where they left off and have a hard time adjusting to being back home.
Students find it disappointing their peers do not understand the life changing experience they went through. Fortunately, a former study abroad student founded the group Cultural Connections in fall 2010. Cultural Connections is a social network designed for students who have studied abroad, plan to study abroad or in-coming international students.
Fear of Cost
The decline in the economy plays a role in why students chose not to engage in courses abroad. However, students in general do not have funds to pay for high travel costs on top of tuition and other living expenses.
Students can save money by choosing schools which have a partnership with MSU. Finding a school with a partnership means they can take courses in a different country while still paying MSU’s tuition.
Students also have a chance to use financial aid or scholarships for study abroad. Students have a chance to adjust their financial aid to receive more funds.
In order to learn more, view MSU’s exchanges and partner universities.
Lindsay also provided information on what students study abroad. Half of the students who studied abroad in 2010-2011 were from the Arts and Humanities department. Languages are part of this department which is the reason for the high percentage.
However, students from all types of majors venture abroad with the next highest group coming from social behavioral sciences. Students can find a school to take courses within their major or they can take elective courses.
International Students at MSU
Not only do students from Mankato go abroad, but several international students decide to study at MSU each year. Exchange students come from countries such as:
Australian exchange student, Natasha Petito, was asked how she ended up in Mankato, Minnesota.
“I had other options to go to warmer states. However, I wanted to experience something completely different than what I was used to.”
Not only do overseas students come to MSU for exchange opportunities, but for full degree programs as well. There is a total of 719 international students coming from 72 countries.
The highest population of international students come from Nepal, Republic of Korea, India and Saudia Arabia. MSU hosts international events and activites with these countries. The cultural activities enable students from other countries to demonstrate their cultures and also gives MSU student a chance to be exposed to them.
Minnesota State University has several programs for those interested in going abroad. MSU also offers ways for students to become knowledgeable of other countries and cultures through on-campus diversity events.
Information about studying abroad can be found at www.mnsu.edu/studyabroad/ An appointment can be made with an adviser in the International Programs Office located in CSU 238 or contacted at 507-389-6669.
Keywords: MSU study abroad program, MSU exchange, MSU student travel, MSU international students, benefits of studying abroad. expenses of studying abroad, MSU study abroad 2010, MSU study abroad 2011