Souvenirs from Abroad

By Carlie Pearson

You walk from the airplane and onto the landing, feeling both exhausted from the trip, and exhilarated for the next few hours of discovering your new home country. Once you get your luggage and move towards the exit, the first thing you are likely to see are flags, maps, books, t-shirts, hats, and key chains all displaying the name or shape of the country in which you have just landed. Although you may wait until later in your trip to pick up a less expensive t-shirt to bring home, you are likely to take something home with which to remember your experience. They key is to be smart about what you choose, and also, to remember the real reason for going abroad.

My favorite souvenir is a little golden ring. It isn’t fancy, and sure wasn’t expensive, but it was hand- made and holds a story that represents my adventure in Slovenia more than a tacky t-shirt ever could. While abroad, I frequently explored the city center of Ljubljana in search of excitement. There always seemed to be a craft show or wine tasting happening in the thriving city center.

One day, while exploring on foot, I came across a small shop facing the river. It was near the very end of the semester, and I could not believe I had missed it until that point. It contained handmade jewelry and gifts, perfect for bringing home a taste of Slovenia to my friends and family. But for me, I saw a metal ring made from a pipe, on it stamped in Slovenian, “Ti si moje sonce,” or You are my sun.

Now when I wear the ring, it is a gentle reminder of my time abroad, and of my home in Slovenia. It was light to pack, and isn’t touristy or tacky like so much of the tourist apparel. Additionally, it was handmade by a Slovenian artist in the heart of the city in which I lived. It may not clearly advertise my time abroad to others, but that’s what makes it so special. Once you return home, the experience is yours alone, and it is those memories and experiences that mean more than any souvenir.

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Country of the Month: Turkey

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By: Lucas McCamon

Turkey has a long history and culture grounded in a multi-ethnic society with heritages across continents. The diversity of the country expands beyond its population, and is exemplified in a variety of attractions to tourists and students alike. In fact, the country is the sixth most popular tourist destination in the world, as of 2013. The country offers a look into ancient civilizations, traces of Roman civilization, the Ottoman Empire, standoffs with the Soviet Union, and modern-day Muslim influence. For those interested in an urban scene, the country offers one of the most important cities in the world, Istanbul. The city itself is a microcosm of the country, influenced by civilizations stretching back in time and across borders as well as modernity. This international cultural hub offers endless entertainment, shopping, art, cuisine, and a wide range of sporting events. The country is proud of its heritage and is a non-traditional way to experience life far different than in America.

Students can explore the wonders of Turkey through affiliated programs including AIFS and IFSA-Butler.

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Benefits of Bilingualism

By Cole Campbell

“The world is huge”; “I do not understand other cultures”; “they are so much different than we are”.

These statements are all too often a reality for many monolingual speakers because they become too comfortable living and conversing in their native language and culture. One of the best ways to come to understand a culture and people different from your own is to attempt to learn their language. When someone finds out that you speak their native tongue, they light up with excitement and take notice that you made the effort to learn their language, even if it is just a “hello, how are you today?” Learning a second language makes the world smaller because you are no longer restricted to stay within your lingual borders, but you can explore, learn from, and befriend new people living in settings different from your own.

Whenever somebody asks me what was my favorite part about my study abroad experience, I say without hesitation that I can now meet and understand nearly anybody living among the Americas and Spain, due to my achievement of fluency in Spanish. Being a bilingual speaker in today’s globalized world can greatly improve your job prospects as well. Just last year, CNN Money named bilingualism as the hottest skill for job seekers because it proves a strong work ethic, due to the discipline it takes to master a second language.

Bilinguals are also reported to earn between 5-20% more money per hour than their monolingual counterparts. Additionally, a bilingual individual’s brain is more alert, quicker at resolving conflicts, and even is less likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. So start today! Take a foreign language class, step out of your monolingual comfort zone, and bridge the cultural gap between you and millions. Stop by the Study Abroad Office to learn more about specific programs to help become fully immersed in a new language and to launch your bilingual career!

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OSU Study Abroad/NSE Welcomes Marissa Hernandez

OSU Study Abroad is proud to introduce Marissa Hernandez as the new Study Abroad Coordinator. She holds a Master of Science in International Studies from OSU and a B.A. in Law from Monterrey Tec (ITESM), where she was fortunate to participate in various study abroad programs that helped reinforce her love for travel and international education. She is a native of Denver, Colorado, grew up in Chihuahua, Mexico and has lived in Stillwater for the past 3 years.

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Prior to being hired in the Study Abroad/NSE office, Marissa served as the ITESM representative on campus and was in charge of leading short-term programs to Mexico and welcoming Monterrey Tec students for short and long-term programs at OSU. She enjoys spending time with friends and family and loves the friendliness and warmth Stillwater has to offer.

Peru

By: Cole Campbell

Where can you trek through the impressive Andes Mountains, experience thriving ancient cultures, canoe on the piranha-infested Amazon river, sand board down America’s highest sand dunes and surf on the beach with the biggest recorded wave in South America? Peru has every type of environmental ecosystem imaginable, making it a prime destination for any adventurist. When many people think of Peru, they immediately think of Machu Picchu, but visitors will be astonished to find out that the country has much more to offer.

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One of the things that Peruvians are most proud to share with eager visitors is their gastronomy. Peru was named the world’s leading culinary travel destination by the World Travel Awards for the second year in a row. Locals’ and tourists’ both enjoy the classic dishes of ceviche (raw fish marinated in lime juice), anticuchos (beef hearts), and cuy (guinea pig), among more “traditional” choices as well. The capital city of Lima is home to more than 9 million people of a variety of ethnicity and races. Lima was founded in 1535 by the conquistador

Francisco Pizarro and is the home to the oldest university in all of the Americas, the University of San Marcos, founded in 1551. Lima hosted the 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference this past December.

Students can take advantage of Oklahoma State’s reciprocal exchange partner in Lima at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas and experience the country for themselves in a semester or year-long immersion program. Our affiliated partners offer opportunities to study at both Lima and Cusco, giving students many options to live the Peruvian dream.

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Never Far from the Equator

By: Carlie Pearson

Dr. Tom Kuzmic has put 17 years into Faculty-Led Study Abroad program through the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. While the program began in Honduras, the past four years Dr. Kuzmic has taken students to Ecuador and the Galapagos islands for a two- week spring break. During the trip, students experience three unique ecosystems and begin their exploration in the rainy, humid Amazon, slowly transitioning to the dramatic high- rising Andes Mountains. For an unforgettable finish, students end with a visit to the magical Galapagos Islands. Though the landscape is vastly changing, students are never far from the equator.

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Not only will students begin to understand and appreciate a set of diverse ecosystems, they will also examine the culture of their inhabitants. “We tend to think we have all the answers, that we live right,” Dr. Kuzmic explains. But through his experiences abroad, has come to realize that there are a lot of different perspectives in the world. He believes through study abroad we can all gain a lot- and not just by looking, but by experiencing.
“I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand.” This quote is from the Chinese Philosopher Confucius, but Dr. Kuzmic uses it to explain his views about study abroad. “Side- by- side with folks, engaging in daily tasks,” he says can broaden your way of looking at the world. Learning by doing is the way to break stereotypes. Not every student has the time or ability for a semester abroad, but even two weeks is enough time to accomplish a deeper understanding of humanity.
There are many faculty- lead trips through the Colleges of OSU that are short-term opportunities to study abroad. Students do not have to be a member of the College to participate in one of their international courses. Check out the various opportunities on each colleges website.

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Blogging your Travels

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By: Lucas McCamon

Inspiration for travel comes from all kinds of  places – a compelling book, a vibrant piece of art, an especially captivating dish – but the internet has made hearing the stories of travel abroad quicker and easier than ever before. There are all kinds of resources that showcase study abroad, specific locations, or a unique perspective on traveling abroad online. This access to blogs, vlogs, and articles makes any exchange student just a reflection and some pictures away from being a bona fide travel writer. Here are a couple of our favorite blogs and sites to inspire, reflect upon, or enhance a travel or study abroad       experience, and who knows, maybe you will start a blog featuring your adventure!

  • www.thecollegetourist.com is a hub for all kinds of information regarding study abroad. One thing that stood out in particular about this site is the    variety in its posts, ranging from infographics to articles written by students on exchange. The College Tourist is a great place to start to get some          inspiration for your own trip abroad!
  • www.goabroad.com/blog offers all kinds of information related to the        industry of study abroad. This includes student perspectives, highlights from a particular country or program, and even some tips for those who might be unfamiliar with international travel.
  • www.ceastudyabroadblog.com essentially is a platform through which       student bloggers from cea programs across the globe can post stories and excerpts from their host locations. Many of our other affiliated partners, such as Sol Education, API, ISA, and more host student bloggers, and they offer a great peek into what it’s like to study with that program specifically, or simply in that location.
  • www.letsgo.com might not be quite a conventional blog, but the site is       centered on student travel, especially some of the more traditional places to visit, such as Western Europe, and its clean look and straightforward          information forecast smooth sailing for your next trip abroad. This site offers information helping with visiting cultural sites, seeing natural sights, and booking international flights. The name says it all – the time is now to step outside your comfort zone!

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

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.