Students discuss the ins-and-outs of studying abroad

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From The United Kingdom to Brazil to Spain and beyond, Boise State students seeking to study abroad have numerous options when deciding which country to live in. Whether seeking to travel, learn about other cultures or immerse themselves in a brand new environment, studying abroad can impact students in many ways.

While the decision to live in a different country for up to a year can be a big decision, Boise State is here to help. Eden Taylor is the program coordinator and a study abroad advisor. After studying abroad herself in 2014, Taylor gained first-hand knowledge of what students can take away from their experience. 

“I studied abroad in Aberystwyth, Wales in Spring 2014 on a Direct Exchange program through Boise State,” Taylor said. “My experience was life-changing. Studying abroad provided me the opportunity to live outside of my comfort zone for six months. Studying abroad is the sole reason I am where I am today and what fed my passion for my work within the international education field.”

Due to the variety of programs, students have many options in terms of their financial situation and countries they are interested in. Alexis Cordell, a senior marketing major, traveled to the United Kingdom in the fall of 2018. 

“I went through the program called USAC (University Studies Abroad Consortium),” Cordell said. “It is a little more expensive than it would be through a direct exchange program because they do plan trips for you. You can have day trips or weekend trips with them and they also hook you up with some student accommodation, so there’s a lot of amenities that come with this specific program.” 

While studying abroad can quickly become expensive, Boise State has flexibility in the programs offered and the way fees can be paid.  

“Students can apply all their financial aid and scholarships towards a study abroad program,” Taylor said. “We offer multiple program types that have different fee structures to increase affordability. Students should meet with us to discuss scholarship opportunities and to find a program that is affordable for their budget.”

Sophie Stroh, a senior psychology major, is currently studying abroad in San Sebastian, Spain. 

One of the primary benefits that students experience living in a different country is the various cultures they are exposed to. Whether it is becoming accustomed to how to interact with locals or pre-planning traveling alone, the learning opportunities can be vast, Stroh touched on many things she has already learned in her short time in Spain.

“I have been able to learn to be more open-minded because living in a different culture can present so many difficulties that you would never think of,” Stroh wrote in an email. “It is such a good learning experience to help build your confidence in being able to figure things out. We just had the biggest holiday of the year La Tamborrada in San Sebastian which was amazing to be able to experience.”

On top of learning about different cultures, studying abroad can be a great way to learn about oneself and experience personal growth. 

“The biggest thing I learned was being comfortable and confident within myself,” Cordell said. “Trusting my gut, and not taking myself too seriously because I mean, coming from small-town Idaho [sic]so I didn’t have any crazy experiences that would have helped me with this. I made a lot of mistakes, I had a lot of stuff that I would have done differently. But I think just not taking myself too seriously, I didn’t get disappointed. I just took whatever came at me and made the best of it.”

With over 60 countries to choose from, any student in any major can apply to study abroad programs.

“I would absolutely recommend other students to study abroad. I almost didn’t go through with it but I am so glad I did,” Stroh wrote. “It is so fun and is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I don’t think anybody should miss out on.”

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