Global Engagement Office hopes to increase number of students studying abroad

March 07, 2017

Daryn Vlad

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     Sometimes the best way to learn about another culture is to immerse yourself in it.

     UCCS is collaborating with IIE in the Generation Study Abroad Program to double the number of students travelling abroad by 2020.

     To reach this goal, 160 UCCS students need to study abroad in the next three years. In 2017, the Global Engagement Office (GEO) expects 120 students to travel internationally.

     Last year, around 80 students traveled.

     According to the Generation Study Abroad website, less than 10 percent of U.S. undergraduate students study abroad.

     “To have learning opportunities in which you’re engaged in an international community is important not only to being a global citizen, but also to having meaningful interactions in the workplace and beyond,” said Mandy Hansen, GEO director. Providing students with opportunities to study internationally is part of the university’s strategic plan, which is specific to comprehensive campus internationalization, according to Hansen.

     Lisa Corbett, a senior studying geography and environmental science, has travelled to 15 different European countries independently of UCCS, and would recommend travel to anybody.

     “Travelling should be essential,” she said.

     Her favorite travel experience so far was through the fjords of Norway.

     According to Corbett, the culture is very different from America.

     “Norway is so sparse. It’s very still and it’s so laid back,” she said. “You gain maturity and so much respect for other cultures and ways of life when you travel.”

     One of UCCS’ 12 strategic plans is to increase international and multicultural program opportunities to build cultural understanding and global competency on campus.

     The Global Engagement Office works to maintain this plan, often by participating with other organizations to make travel more accessible for the UCCS community.

     The cost of studying abroad is a concern for many students, according to Hansen.

     “Prices vary dramatically based on the program and location,” said Hansen. “But if a student does a bilateral program, cost is essentially what they would be paying to attend UCCS.”

     A bilateral program allows a U.S. student to exchange places with a student from another country, while both continue to pay tuition at their home schools.

     UCCS emphasizes the importance in its students’ exposure to other cultures and ways of life because these experiences contribute to the campus community as a whole, according to Hansen.

     “When a student studies abroad or has a quality interaction on campus with an international student, it leads to intercultural understanding, which benefits the larger community,” said Hansen.

     Studying abroad provides students with an immeasurable experience, Hansen said.

     “It’s a way to learn outside of the classroom. There are skills in learning how to navigate a culture different from your own, and those skills transfer over into the workplace.”

     Corbett’s biggest tip to students who want to travel is to research a way to make it work.

     “The opportunities are definitely there,” she said.

     “If you never put in effort to make it happen, then it never will.”

     For more information on Generation Study Abroad or to arrange a meeting for studying internationally, visit the Global Engagement Office in Copper House 9202.