Country of the Month: South Africa

By: Carlie Pearson

South Africa has a rich history and culture based on its multiethnic society.  But the diversity of the country expands beyond its population, and is exemplified in the variety of attractions to tourists and students alike. For those interested in wildlife, South Africa is an exemplary location to study African ecosystems, especially at the country’s world– renowned Kruger National Park. For those interested in a more urban scene, the country offers  Johannesburg, its ‘City of Gold,’ including endless entertainment, shopping, as well as freedom tours focusing on the country’s historic apartheid struggle. South Africa became independent of the United Kingdom on 31 May 1961.

Students can explore the wonders of South Africa through Affiliated programs including AIFS, CEA, and CIS, among others.

http://www.goabroad.com/study-abroad/search/south-africa/study-abroad-1

Study Abroad/National Student Exchange

School of International Studies

242 Student Union

Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078

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5 Reasons to Study Abroad Long- Term

By: Adrienne Allan, Study Abroad Peer Advisor

  1. Independence

Students who study abroad gain the ability to use the skills their parents and professors have instilled in them throughout the years and apply them in real-life situations while growing their independence.

  1. International Friendship

While studying abroad, students make friends from all over the world. Whether it is within the city, at school, or on a trip, international friends with different cultural backgrounds are everywhere.

  1. Travel

While in ones host country, the opportunity to travel is at your fingertips. Trains, planes, and automobiles can take you to multiple locations in just one weekend to experience new cities, natural wonders, and culture.

  1. Learning a new Language

With roughly 6,500 different languages spoken in the world, the odds of you being in a country with a foreign language are in your favor.

  1. Gaining Cultural Insight

Studying abroad is the best way to learn about another culture. While living in a country different than their own, students get to experience how locals live and interact each and every day allowing for an unforgettable experience that they will never forget.

Study Abroad Professional Development

By Jessica Agnew- Career Consultant via Study Abroad February Newsletter

An international experience, whether short or long-term, can be extremely valuable in your future career.  Your experiences are unique and can set you apart from other job seekers.  In your job search, whether that is part-time, full-time, or an internship, it is up to you to showcase your acquired skills through your resume, cover letter, and interviewing abilities.  Here are just a few examples of how to sell your international skills.

  • Cultural sensitivity. This is really the understanding and awareness of other cultures. The workplace is full of diverse groups.  Use your experiences abroad to show your employer that you can respect and work well with diverse populations.
  • Comfort zone. Traveling and studying in a different country forces you outside of your comfort zone.  Compare this to the work environment, especially when you are first starting your career. Things might be uncomfortable, new, and even confusing at first.  Communicate with your employer that you are able to cope with change and willing to learn new things in order to be successful.
  • Adaptability to other environments. Adaptability is one of the top skills most employers are looking for in a new employee.  Being adaptable and flexible to new ideas, projects, tasks, etc. in the workplace will really make your skillset stand out.  Adaptable people act with positivity and poise, making them productive and calm in difficult situations.
  • Cross-cultural and global thinking skills. An international experience can truly give you a global perspective.  This can include having an open mind, understanding your own identity, while respecting other perspectives at the same time, and knowing the importance of building peaceful relationships in the workplace, just to name a few.

For more comprehensive ideas on international skills, gaining experience, and job search strategies, OSU students can visit a Career Consultant at any time. Appointments can be made online at HireOSUGrads.com, or by stopping by 360 Student Union.

An Aussie in America

By Cole Campbell

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Damon Smith, a senior Human Resource Management student, has made the long journey from the “Land Down Under” to Stillwater, Okla. in search for his first cultural experience in the United States. Smith is an exchange student from the University of South Australia in Adelaide, Australia, one of the 90 reciprocal exchange partner universities of Oklahoma State. Before deciding to come to OSU, he weighed his options of other schools such as Colorado State, Northern Arizona and Minnesota State. But he thought that the south would be more of a change of scene to what he was used to in Australia. “The sports drew me here, I also liked the size of the university and the business school is highly ranked. I also read that Eskimo Joe’s was a fairly iconic sports bar,” Smith said. He is in his second semester of his yearlong stay and he says that there are many differences between Stillwater and his hometown. “Adelaide is a city of 1.5 million people that has a Mediterranean sort of climate and is only a 20 minute tram ride to the beach. Stillwater is pretty barren in comparison but I like the university and it has a really friendly atmosphere,” Smith said.  When he arrived to OSU, he says that many people were willing to help him get settled in.  “Everyone wanted to help me out and asked if I needed rides to Wal-Mart; people seemed to be surprised to find out that there was an Australian on Campus,” Smith said.

One of the biggest initial adjustments for exchange students is getting acclimated to the different teaching philosophies between countries. Smith says that at OSU, he has professors that count attendance for grades, something that is quite rare in Australia and he has experienced more random testing. One of the interesting opportunities that one can take advantage of during an experience abroad is learning about your major study through another country’s perspective. As a Human Resource Management Student, Smith is interested in learning about and comparing the very different labor systems in the United States and Australia.  “In Australia, the minimum wage is $640 a week, we are guaranteed 10 sick days a year, mandatory 401ks and a required 4 week vacation for all full time employees.” After studying America’s employment benefits, he believes that Australia’s method is fairer for the average person and that the United States is going to have a hard time paying out pensions with fewer taxes. When Smith is not studying, he likes to run, see guest speakers at the Spears School of Business, hit the Strip with his friends and travel around the U.S.

In five short months, Smith has seen more of the States than most Americans will see in their lifetime. Last semester alone, he traveled to Los Angeles, Dallas for the OSU-FSU game, Montreal, Canada to visit a ‘mate’ and Austin for the Austin City Limits music festival. Taking full advantage of our four week Christmas break, he went to Las Vegas, San Diego, New Jersey, Manhattan, Boston, Nashville, Denver and San Francisco before heading back to Stillwater for the spring semester. He plans to move to L.A. after this semester in search for an internship and getting involved in the underground band scene. So far, Smith has had a really positive experience at Oklahoma State, and is happy to experience a new life in a new country.

When asked what Smith wants Americans to know about Australia, he says that he wishes that more Americans would watch Australian football. “It is a hybrid of soccer, basketball and rugby, but it is essentially Gaelic football but with more tackling and on an oval field,” Smith said.

For information on studying abroad at Damon’s home university, University of South Australia, visit the Study Abroad /National Student Exchange Office or visit the website at http://www.abroad.okstate.edu