Beavers take classes across the globe

Caine Francis, the interim director of Global Opportunities at Oregon State University, pointing out some of the countries that the office has sent students to. 

Sydney Sullivan, News Contributor

Nothing feels familiar. Words come out of people’s mouths in syllables that do not quite seem to make sense yet. The only commonality to find is in students who are strangers, and every one of them looks both nervous and giddy. But stepping outside the airport, a new landscape is laid out before one’s feet. Not feeling ready, but open for what is to come, it’s time to begin a study abroad.

“OSU currently offers more than 200 programs in over 70 countries—so just about anywhere in the world you can imagine,” Caine Francis, the interim director of Global Opportunities at Oregon State University, said via email.

According to Francis, OSU recognizes that the amount of study abroad options can be overwhelming, so the university provides some relief through the Office of Global Opportunities. As a starting point for students, the office is currently organizing programs based on academics and wants to give students the opportunity to see which courses in their majors have been done abroad. 

While some students may find it difficult to decide where to go, OSU does not want students to struggle financially in order to get to their desired destination, according to Francis.

“The Office of Global Opportunities helps connect students with a variety of scholarship opportunities, including those offered by the Office of Global Opportunities itself, scholarships offered by specific programs and internationally competitive scholarships through the office of Prestigious Scholarships here at OSU,” Francis said in an email.

While some students will pay for their travel abroad with scholarships, there are other means for students to get away from home.

Carly Ferguson, a fourth-year OSU student double majoring in education and English, paid out-of-pocket to travel to Costa Rica in the summer of 2015.

“One experience I’ll never forget from traveling abroad would be sea kayaking after class with some of the other group members,” Ferguson said via email.

According to Francis, research has been done on the benefits that traveling abroad can have for students. These benefits range from improved GPAs to better communication skills and increased adaptability to new situations.

 For Erika Moellmer, a fourth-year political science major at OSU, an advantage she gained from her study abroad was learning the German language. Moellmer said she studied at the University of Tübingen in the German state of Baden-Württemberg because she was informed that it had one of the best programs for studying German as a foreign language.  

According to Moellmer, some of her favorite non-academic experiences were those chosen by the group she traveled with, such as when they traveled to Krakow, Poland.

“I had no expectations of Krakow, but it ended up being one of my favorite places to visit because of its rich culture and amazing food,” Moellmer said in an email.  

According to Moellmer, her study abroad primarily helped with her minor in German, but she also ended up with more emotional experiences from her trip.

“We visited the Auschwitz concentration camp, which was very impactful. German being my minor, I have taken a lot of German history classes, the Holocaust being the centerpoint of most courses,” Moellmer said in an email. “It was very eye opening to actually walk through the halls that once were filled with victims of the Holocaust.”

The exchange program between OSU and the state of Baden-Wűrttemberg has existed for nearly 50 years, and according to Francis this program is one of his favorites offered at OSU. 

“With 13 different universities from which to choose, OSU students can study in Freiburg, near the French border; in Konstanz, on the border of Switzerland; in Heidelberg, with its romantic castle; in Stuttgart, home of DaimlerChrysler; or in many other cities in the picturesque forests and valleys of southwestern Germany,” Francis said in an email. 

According to Francis, these programs are wonderful examples of international collaboration in the spirit of transformative educational experiences. 

“While most students seek out education abroad to experience something different and foreign, what they come back with is a deeper understanding of just how much all people across the globe share in common,” Francis said in an email.