Study abroad: the power of experiencing the ties that bind us and divide us

Photo courtesy of SUU Office of Learning Abroad Facebook page, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — In line with the belief that both the world and workforce are becoming more globalized and that international study does more than just boost a student’s resume, Southern Utah University is working to increase its opportunities to study abroad.

In a 2013 “Open Doors” report published by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Allan Goodman, president of the IIE, said he believed an international experience for students is vital for career success and mutual understanding.

“The careers of all of our students will be global ones, in which they will need to function effectively in multi-national teams,” Goodman said in the report. “They will need to understand the cultural differences and historical experiences that divide us, as well as the common values and humanity that unite us.”

Studying abroad provides the opportunity to take education out of the classroom and into the world. Students are able to learn from different cultures, find new interests, serve, improve language skills, make lifelong friends and become more prepared to help solve future global challenges.

With this in mind, Southern Utah University is not only working toward more study abroad opportunities but also to make it more financially attainable. In the 2016-17 academic school year, SUU awarded $86,750 in study abroad scholarships.

The SUU Study Abroad program, which is organized through the Office of Learning Abroad, took more than 350 students abroad for a total of 2,280 days to 20 different countries from India to Peru.

Andria Burdick, a junior criminal justice and chemistry major from Loveland, Colorado, traveled to Nicaragua to learn about landscape and animal life. She said she surprised herself by how adventurous she was during her trip. She hiked, kayaked, visited wildlife reserves, hunted insects and tried traditional food.

“College is a time for growth and self-discovery,” Burdick said. “There is no better way to measure that growth than to immerse yourself in a foreign country.”

Ammon Treasure, a senior anthropology major from Southern Utah, said he enjoys experiencing the world’s incredible diversity and called traveling abroad “the gift of a lifetime of memories.” Treasure traveled to India to expand his anthropological studies.

“Regardless of one’s area of study there is a study abroad opportunity out there that is the perfect fit,” Treasure said. “It might be as simple as taking a bus down to Mexico for the weekend or a lengthy stay halfway around the world.”

Taylor Morgan is a junior psychology major from Irvine, California. She just returned from a study abroad to Spain where she visited historical sites, watched bull fighting and learned valuable lessons from another culture.

“I learned to adopt a beginner’s mind while in Spain,” Morgan said. “In other words, I learned to observe and process another culture with an open mind and try to experience things from their point of view. It’s important to be culturally aware and respectful.”

To learn more about the SUU Study Abroad program, visit the SUU Office of Learning Abroad.

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Twitter: @STGnews

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