Junior Casey Beall loved her experience studying abroad in Costa Rica this past summer.
“I learned how to make different foods like pico de gallo (diced tomatoes and onions mixed with lime juice),” she said. “We also learned about their culture by going to museums and walking around their town.”
Students must meet several requirements and pay a hefty price to study abroad. Beall traveled for about a month on the faculty trip and had to pay about $3,000 plus her plane ticket.
“You have to be up to date on your billing and approval from your academic advisor and we also have a minimum GPA of a 2.7,” said Rebecca Miller, study abroad advisor.
A student may attend a faculty-led trip, which lasts as short as a week, or apply to study for a semester – potentially anywhere in the world – through the international program.
“My teacher had all the papers we needed to fill out,” Beall said. “We just had to make figure out which house was appropriate for us to live in.”
Miller is looking to increase the amount of people who travel though the international program.
“Per year we have an average of about two or three students who study abroad each year,” Miller said. “We are hoping to expand that.”
Although it is a long process to get into the program – background checks, teacher recommendations and adviser approval – students say it is well worth it because of how much they learned not only about the culture but about themselves.
“It’s a great experience because you learn so much,” Beall said. “I learned how to make different foods and styles of dance there.”
Wesley College uses the International Students Exchange program (ISEP), a non-profit education community that provides students with financial aid to travel the world. They work with more than 300
colleges and universities around the world.
While traveling abroad, graduate assistant John Wolgamot found himself trying to break what he thought were typical American stereotypes.
“You’re a representation of your own nation so you try and defy some stereotypes,” he said. “People say Americans are big and loud but trying to debunk stereotypes was a big thing while I was there.”
Studying abroad gives students a better understanding of other cultures and builds connections with people around the world.
“We have students learns about culture and friendship,” Miller said. ” They even learn how to be independent because they do not have their families there.”
People who have traveled say they would do it again in a heartbeat.
“It was so much fun,” Beall said. “I would definitely do it again.”
For more information, one can visit the international program’s office, located in Dulany Hall, room 003.