WSU announces study abroad goal

Less than 10 percent of U.S. college students study abroad, according to the Institute of International Education. WSU plans on changing that within the next five years by increasing accessibility of study abroad programs to interested students.

“WSU has a goal of having at least 1,000 students studying abroad each year by 2019,” said Anjie Bertramson, senior adviser and faculty-led program coordinator.

On average, 700-750 WSU students study abroad every year, which means many don’t take advantage of opportunities to study abroad.

“Many students do not attend because they hear about those myths of studying abroad, that it is too expensive, won’t fit into their academic plan, and so on,” Bertramson said.

However, there are numerous scholarships available to apply for and programs that offer assistance financially, and each country has its own different costs. The WSU study abroad office is trying to connect with students and clear up misunderstandings through its ‘Global Cougs 101’ sessions.

“These sessions cover the international opportunities there are, the different program types available and the basic information people need to know about studying abroad,” said Lisa Armstrong, WSU global learning adviser.

The four types of study abroad programs mainly covered in these sessions are faculty-led programs, exchanges, provider programs and internships. Each type of program has its own benefits and weaknesses, and about 58 percent of students go on faculty-led programs, Bertramson said.

Students who study abroad and want to help other students do the same often volunteer as ambassadors or work as peer advisers at the study abroad office.

One of those students is Zachery Kadolph, a senior studying political science and the co-chair of the ASWSU election board, who has studied abroad twice as a WSU student, attending a full academic year in 2013-14 at Queen’s University Belfast in Ireland.

“I knew I wanted to study abroad, as my family had gone abroad before,” Kadolph said. “I knew there were opportunities. I just started with talking to an adviser and went from there.”

Kadolph said he traveled all over Ireland while he was studying there because he wanted to get to know the area he was in and immerse himself in the culture.

“I would tell everyone to study abroad now while they have such a great opportunity in college,” Kadolph said. “You learn more from experiences in going abroad than you could from any textbook.”