Students encouraged to go abroad

Students share study abroad experiences encouraging other OU students to get involved


Elyse Gregory

Interested students attended the Study Abroad Fair to receive information about scholarships and trips.

For some students, the hardest part about studying abroad is simply figuring out how to do it.

Lucky for them, Oakland University’s Office of International Education held a Study Abroad Fair Sept. 27-28 in the Fireside Lounge of the Oakland Center from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

There were plenty of tables set up displaying all the possibilities for studying abroad or studying away that OU currently offers. Students were assisted in finding programs that would be the perfect fit for them and were reminded that studying abroad not only provides course credit, but a valuable life experience.

Students who have already studied abroad were also on-hand to share their stories.

Jamie Svisco, a junior majoring in criminal justice and Spanish, attended a six-week trip to Segovia, Spain, this past summer. She said cost is something students can overcome if they put in the effort.

“I applied for tons of scholarships, and though it took time writing essays, I won four scholarships, and they paid off half of my trip,” Svisco said.

Svisco stayed with a host family that she grew close to over the course of her trip.

“I still keep in touch with them,” she said. “I usually text them using WhatsApp messenger. They were some of the nicest people I met.”

Svisco also hopes to persuade students who are worried about the language barrier.

“I already spoke Spanish, but I learned more from my host family during our daily interactions,” she said.

Tom Baranski, a third year student studying French and German, went to Orléans, France, from Jan. 3-May 23. He said students should study abroad because it is important to be immersed in different cultures to see life through different lenses.

“Doing things like this, even for a shorter time, changes your perspective, or reinforces some of your beliefs,” Baranski said. “However, an open mind to new experience and adventure is important. If you go with an open mind and patience, you will have an unforgettable experience.”

Baranski wants students to know there are plenty of other ways they can look into planning a trip if they missed the Study Abroad Fair. He planned his adventure with the help of an adviser and past students who had been on the trip.

“Students can talk to an adviser in a department, look at OU’s International Education website, search programs independently, ask people in any department,” he said.