Study abroad program aims to broaden horizons, worldly communication

Sept. 29, 2014

Celeste Burnham
[email protected]

Students studying abroad have the opportunity to experience the world in a way that is becoming more popular and encouraged at universities throughout the world.

The education abroad fair on Sept. 15 presented programs that allow students to travel to places like Germany, Mexico, France, Sweden, The Netherlands and Austria in order to enhance their experiences as a college student.

The fair is an informational session that is required and part of the application process to study abroad. Requirements, different programs and academic and financial information are covered.

“Never have I had such an eye-opening experience and culture shock. I learned about how other cultures live, what kind of norms they have, and basically how they live their everyday lives,” Alexa Sprouse, junior business major, said.

Sprouse was able to spend six weeks in Barcelona, Spain. “Once I came back to the states, I immediately wanted to go back.

Studying abroad has introduced a new interest in my life with international business.” Students can choose from three study abroad programs: exchange programs, faculty directed programs and third party program providers.

Participants in the education abroad program still pay the same tuition as if they were at UCCS. Michael Saenz, education abroad coordinator, believes this is the best program for students to participate in.

“One of the things I love about exchange students is that they get to pay their home tuition, it’s like they never left UCCS,” Saenz said.

The faculty directed study abroad programs are as short as winter or summer term condensed courses. A faculty member would lead the course abroad with a group of students that have shown interest in the program. The time spent abroad could range from one to three weeks.

National trends shows that most students who participate in a study abroad program during their college career participate in a faculty directed program. Saenz believes that as UCCS’ study abroad program continues to grow more students will follow that trend.

“I think personally as an advisor, study abroad was such a life changing experience for me. It allows you to grow in many areas in your life personally, academically and professionally,” he said.

“Our world is globalizing where it is important to know different people and know a different language.”

Third-party program providers help UCCS send students to a wider variety of foreign countries. This program is different than the exchange program since it is usually all-inclusive and you pay your fees directly to the provider and not to UCCS.

The program can be more expensive and less cost effective.

“It depends on where you are going and how long you are staying,” Saenz said. Scholarships geared towards funding education abroad are offered through international affairs.

The Gillman Scholarship is awarded to students from the government. There are prerequisites such as being a recipient of a Pell Grant, writing essays and completing a follow-up project. They also prefer that students do not study in traditional countries.

“I did not use any scholarships or financial aid and I really wish I would have,” Sprouse expressed in an e-mail. “The thing with my situation was that my financial aid had already maxed out for my academic year at UCCS and was not able to be applied towards studying abroad. I did apply for a couple scholarships though.”

The application process, along with other scholarships, is available on the Office of International Student Affairs website.

Study abroad students must maintain a full-time status and take courses that apply to their degree in order to qualify for financial aid.

The next study abroad fair is Oct. 3 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in University Center 126.