OSU Global Opportunities provides chance for personal development, travel

Jackson Platt, Practicum Contributor

Oregon State University Global Opportunities allows OSU students to do much more than just study abroad. It provides the opportunity for personal growth in a multitude of areas, according to program advisers and former study abroad students.

OSU is very proud of its mission to be “out there” and OSU GO is putting this motto to action. They provide a multitude of experiences allowing students to travel outside of the United States. OSU GO believes their programs give students a beneficial experience wherever they may travel. The program allows students to become educated on intercultural skills as well as gain experience in their desired area of study, while learning more about themselves internally.

Zach Lewis is a student who studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain during 2017.

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“When there I was forced to come out of my shell,” Lewis said.

Lewis stayed in Barcelona for five weeks in the summer of 2017. Lewis has a minor in Spanish, so he used his experience to develop his Spanish speaking and understanding of the culture. While there, he was able to explore the city as well as further his placement on a path towards a degree. 

Lewis stressed the importance of this experience in his personal development, saying it helped him discover more about himself, as well as helped prepare him for potentially receiving a job.

“OSU GO handles a lot of international opportunities that are available for Oregon State students,” Jake Sawyer, a peer adviser for OSU GO, said.

Jake Sawyer assists in organizing prospective students applications for the program of their choice within OSU GO. OSU GO is primarily focused with providing students the ability to gain experience in an international setting. Sawyer explained that they do so by providing students with three different programs; study abroad, international internships and faculty-led trips. 

“As students of Oregon State, it is focused around furthering our cultural awareness,” Sawyer said.

OSU GO currently allows students to travel to more than 70 countries within nearly 200 different programs. This is where Sawyer said the real opportunity lies in their programs. He said the opportunity rises to immerse oneself in a foreign culture, where they are furthest from the familiar. 

Sawyer said many students in their program are able to learn a lot about themselves when this happens as well.

“After I left (Spain), I felt more prepared for the real world,” Lewis said.

Lewis said he developed many professional and social skills throughout his experience in Spain and he thinks that his experience will result in an advantage in the job market for when he graduates. 

Statistically speaking, there is truth to Lewis’ statement. According to the International Education of Students Study Abroad Studies, students who participate in international travels have a better chance of finding a job. The study found that about 90 percent of study abroad alumni found a job within 12 months, while only about 49 percent of college graduates could find a job. This could possibly be partly due to the opportunities that come with various international programs. Sawyer said this advantage exists because their programs provide the ability to develop skills that are useful when competing in a global market. 

Some students looking to study abroad, however, may be at a loss as to how to start.

“I actually don’t even exactly know how to start planning (study abroad),” said Jordan Anderson, a student interested in OSU GO.

As a peer adviser, Sawyer explained that many students struggle with the planning aspect of OSU GO with their graduation schedule. In order to utilize their services, students must be proactive with planning and looking into applicable programs for their major. He advised that students begin planning with OSU GO, as well as their student adviser, as soon as they can. 

OSU GO offers a unique learning experience for OSU students. Those who participate are able to explore themselves and gain real world experience for the job market. While this program exists, it requires students to be proactive about their own involvement. The Oregon State program has a website where students can begin their process of finding an opportunity. 

For this information students are advised to visit and explore the OSU GO website.