International education: Study abroad options at UF

By Jacob King

Sitting in a lecture hall and listening to a professor teach for an hour isn’t everyone’s ideal style of learning. However, some students decide to take a different path of learning by taking a flight to their next class.

Students who want to combine traveling with studying have the option to continue their degree in another country. Many international studies programs, such as ISA (international studies abroad) or Spanish Studies Abroad, allow students the opportunity to spend a summer, semester or even year abroad earning their degree.

“Study abroad opens your eyes to so many opportunities,” said Lauren Brassfield, graduate assistant for international education. “Each of those experiences (abroad) have made me more confident in myself, more aware and open to other cultures.”

Lexi Forder, junior at Kent State University, is currently studying abroad in Florence, Italy and said how she noticed the difference in teaching style.

“We are lucky enough to have school sponsored/guided field trips to cities and attractions that benefit our educational interests,” said Forder. “One of said field trips included traveling to Milan and visiting the 2015 EXPO and Corriere della Sera, one of Italy’s oldest and largest daily newspaper publishers.”

Forder said how there is a significant change in the amount of stress and pressure from studying in another country to studying in the U.S.

“The climate of learning can indeed be stressful while studying abroad, but it is not comparable to type of stress experienced while studying in the United States,” said Forder.

Earning credit hours abroad can also serve to be financially beneficial for students. Alonzo Carballo, Universidad de Latina alumni, said how pursuing higher education in Costa Rica is more affordable in contrast to some countries.

“I paid roughly $13,000 for my tuition (total for a four year program at a private university) this is not including any books or materials in general,” said Carballo.

Along with being cost efficient in some cases, Brassfield said how studying abroad represents more for a student than just a fun time out of the country.

“It shows that anybody, particulary UF, that you’ve done something outside the arch,” said Brassfield.

UCMERCED (University of California, Merced) reported that 97% of study abroad students found jobs within 12 months after graduation.

“It’s a resume booster because a lot of people may have the same resume but it sets you apart from others,” said Brassfield.

Although seen as beneficial to have experience abroad, a low amount of students actually travel.

NAFSA (National Association of Foreign Student Advisers) reported that during the 2012-2013 academic year, there was only a 2% percent increase of students studying abroad from 283,332 s to 289,408.

“Obviously money is something students are always voicing,” said Brassfield.

Brassfield said that along with money, many students think that they just don’t have the time in their academic path to spend in another country.

Arturo Jimenez, professor of language at Universiad de Latina, said there is a priceless value in immersing one’s self in a culture outside their own.

“The content to work are closely linked to other educational axes; so content, methodology, values ​​and cultural elements are directly involved with learning a language-culture,” said Jimenez.

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