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OSU encourages students to study beyond Stillwater

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Emily Hyde

From Iceland to the Virgin Islands, Oklahoma State University offers students several options for personal and professional growth as they live and study across the U.S. and around the world.

OSU students can participate in long and short-term study abroad experiences. Opportunities include faculty-led programs, internships, summer courses, self-service learning projects and semester and academic year programs.

“We have options all over the world and in the U.S. through our National Student Exchange (NSE) program,” said Marissa Hernandez, OSU student exchange coordinator. “We have an agreement with over 190 universities across the country, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.”

OSU has 74 university partners across the world available to students who wish to go abroad for as long as a semester or an academic year. Students pay most tuition and fees to OSU, but housing, meals, and other costs are paid in the host countries. Most of these partner universities also offer their courses in English so you don’t have to learn the language in order to do the work.

“The majority of students obtain academic credit while abroad to fulfill a requirement toward their degree,” said Hernandez. “There are several opportunities that students in engineering, business, animal science, agriculture, and the arts and humanities can pursue.”

Environmental sciences student Emily Hyde completed a semester in Reykjavik, Iceland, through OSU’s reciprocal exchange program. She took courses on climate change and the ecology of Iceland. She also had the opportunity to attend an international arctic research conference.

“Iceland allowed me to round out my degree with its unique courses,” Hyde said. “My dream career is to do research within the field of freshwater ecology or pursue a career in water conservation for a nonprofit.”

Hyde’s study abroad experience gave her new friends and a broader perspective about a different culture.

“Iceland has a very special place in my heart,” Hyde said. “I never expected the impact it would have on me.”

Students can start the study abroad process by attending a study abroad information session. Sessions are hosted at 5 p.m. every Tuesday in Classroom Building 313 and at 12 p.m. every Wednesday in Human Sciences 236.

“It is never too early to start looking into studying abroad,” Hernandez said. “Start now. The sooner students have the conversation with us about studying abroad the better.”

Students who intend to go abroad for a semester or academic year should start the planning process at least a year in advance.

All prospective students can schedule an advising appointment to discuss options with a peer adviser.

“Our peer advisers in the office are current students who have previously completed a program abroad,” Hernandez said. “It's a great opportunity for students to get some insight from other students, who can easily relate their personal experiences.”

The Study Abroad office also discusses opportunities for scholarship but some of the study abroad options can cost the same or even lower than attending OSU due to the lower cost of living while abroad.

“In our reciprocal exchange program, students pay OSU tuition and their scholarships still apply,” Hernandez said.

OSU donors provided more than $900,000 in study abroad scholarships for the 2016 - 2017 academic year and more than 1,000 students participated in the program.

“There is typically an incredible transformation that students can see in themselves after they have been abroad,” Hernandez said. “An experience abroad teaches you resourcefulness, creativity, flexibility and how to problem solve. The qualities that students gain can be very attractive to employers.”

OSU is the only campus in Oklahoma that offers the National Student Exchange program.

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Story by Hayley Bondank

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