The Daily Evergreen

Going global

MAIA GABRIEL | Evergreen reporter

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Students interested in going global will have the opportunity this week to have their questions answered about education abroad.

The Global Learning Fair will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday in the CUE Atrium. WSU advisers and about 20 program providers will be present to address common misconceptions about studying abroad.

Among those misconceptions are the beliefs that global education is expensive and that credits can’t be easily transferred, said Kajsa Hendrickson, an adviser in WSU International Programs.

“If there’s a will there’s a way,” Hendrickson said of such difficulties. “We’re here to help students as much as we can.”

A raffle at the fair will grant three winners 50 percent or up to $150 off their program application fees. Hendrickson said Global Learning hopes to double its number of study abroad participants in the next decade.

International Programs adviser Lisa Armstrong said students can learn about international affairs without leaving the country.

“It’s possible to go global wherever you are,” Armstrong said.

For students who get homesick easily, Armstrong suggested considering one of the six-week faculty-led trips that WSU offers.

“A lot of students are Cougs and bleed crimson,” she said. “They don’t want to leave because they love Pullman and want the college experience. We have plenty of programs for every student.”

Students earning Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) degrees often assume they cannot study abroad due to a lack of available courses, Armstrong said, emphasizing that students should meet with their degree advisers to ensure credits will transfer.

“It’s called education abroad for a reason,” she said. “There’s a reason we don’t refer to it as a trip.”

WSU students who have studied abroad can mentor international students or serve as peer advisers for those interested in study abroad programs.

Tiffany Wilks, a Global Learning peer adviser, said the fair she attended during her sophomore year helped her find the most cost-efficient program provider and learn about scholarship opportunities.

A zoology major with a Spanish minor, Wilks studied abroad in Wales, where she took marine science courses that offered hands-on experience at a nearby lake. She said class sizes were smaller than those offered at WSU, and she received more one-on-one time with her professors.

Peer adviser Joel Carpenter, a junior mechanical engineering major, said advisers’ duties involve mostly clerical work, but a main priority is providing resources to students.

Advisers also lead Global Cougs 101, informational sessions students must attend prior to studying abroad.

“Being able to talk to students about my time abroad helps put it in perspective,” he said, reflecting on his return to WSU after studying abroad.

He said becoming an adviser helped him deal with the transition.

“There’s a saying, ‘One of the best ways to learn is to teach,’ and I think that applies to your personal experiences as well,” he said. “It helped me reflect on what I got out of the experience through talking to students who may be interested.”

Peer adviser Ashtyn Packer, a senior international business major, said one of the most common questions she answers is how to get the ball rolling. Packer said she helps students individually by focusing on their majors, budgets, and the countries that pique their interest.

“They ask me, ‘Where do you think I should go?’ and I say, ‘it really depends on you,’” she said.

Students should not be discouraged if they’re on a budget, said peer adviser Maria Kidder, a senior biology and anthropology major.

“I think something students balk at is the price,” Kidder said. “And I just wanted to help people understand it’s a worthy experience, and there are ways to get around the roadblocks.”

Other education abroad opportunities include the 15-credit global studies minor, in which students can earn the Global Leadership Certificate. Also available is the Global Case Competition, an involving students working in teams to develop solutions to global issues.

“Just try to be open to everything throughout the entire process,” Wilks said. “Definitely don’t narrow down choices. You’ll get a great experience out of anywhere you choose.”

The deadlines to register for WSU-affiliated study abroad programs are April 1 for summer sessions and May 1 for the fall semester. Hendrickson recommended applying early for applicable scholarships through WSU and program providers.

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