According to the 2012 CU senior survey, if students could do college differently, 46 percent of seniors on campus said they wished they had studied abroad.
Luckily at CU-Boulder, the Office of International Education offers an assortment of opportunities for everyone. With 340 distinct programs, in more than 70 countries around the world and an army of study abroad staff to answer every thinkable question, students have all the tools necessary to make it happen.
“Our goal, which we have met, is to have programs for every undergraduate major, and to do our best to meet the needs of every student,” said Mary Dando, director of Study Abroad Programs with CU’s Office of International Education. “Right now we have about 1300 students going abroad on our programs.”
Some programs available for students interested in studying abroad are the School for International Training, Council on International Educational Exchange, International Studies Abroad, and Global Links, with opportunities to study pretty much anywhere, including Semester At Sea.
The deadline for studying abroad this spring is Oct. 1, 2013. For the upcoming fall, summer and academic year, the deadline is March 1, 2014.
“Every student who returns says the experience has changed their life,” said Dando. “It’s a transformational, educational experience that can only occur by living abroad.” And at CU, students can easily find what suits their interests, like host family housing, project-based work or even faculty-led programs that are shorter and arranged over holiday, spring and summer breaks.
Piper Jackson-Sevy is a CU senior who went to Peru her sophomore year with the Council for International Education and Exchange. After her valuable time there, Jackson-Sevy continued to work for the Council, a nonprofit organization and world leader in study abroad programs. After completing her project-based internship on market research, Jackson-Sevy presented her work to the CEO and senior staff.
And looking back, she has no regrets. “As far as one semester of awesomeness goes, study abroad does it,” said Jackson-Sevy. “No matter where you go, you’ll have the most amazing time.”
Dana Ward and Ian Mallams, both CU graduates, studied in two different countries in Africa with the School for International Training three years ago. Ward found that her experience in Cameroon and France helped her with her French and thesis writing, noting that every minute was a valuable experience. Mallams, who spent four months in Tanzania, found that his experience never escaped him after the four months were up.
“Every day, or at least once a week, there are still things that you realize about how American culture is and how it’s different,” said Mallams. “Two years, almost three years later, and I’m still thinking, 'oh wow, I didn’t really think about that before and I wouldn’t have if I never went.'”
Mallams graduated from CU with degrees in Environmental Studies and Geography. He chose a program that focused on wildlife ecology and political conservation in Tanzania abroad, where he made a map for a private game reserve, highlighting habitat loss for the animals.
As Dando explained, the Study Abroad Programs office has two types of advisors to help students when it comes to choosing the right program. Global advisors are available on a walk-in basis, so students can get a broad understanding of what their options are.
“If they’ve really narrowed it down and know they really want to go to the Middle East, or really want to go to Africa or Italy or New Zealand, then we have a schedule for regional advising teams,” said Dando. So, after choosing a region, students can get lots of advice on which program for their major is the best fit.
Interested students can learn more during daily walk-in sessions (Study Abroad 101) held at the Center for Community. Visit the Study Abroad website, for more information regarding GPA requirements, tuition costs, financial aid requirements and every program available through CU. To view more student testimonials, check out the abroad program’s YouTube channel, or visit studyabroad.colorado.edu.
Photo courtesy of Andrew March.