Q: As an incoming student to CFAES this fall, I have been looking forward to college and was curious about the study abroad opportunities. I was wondering what all study abroad trips would be available for me to do, and if it’s worth it to spend that much money? I’m also concerned that studying abroad would make me graduate late because I would be taking time away from school to travel. Any advice?
A: As a senior this fall, I have studied at Ohio State for three years. Cheered on three winning seasons of Buckeye football. Taken three different psychology courses. Eaten three times my weight in Raising Cane’s chicken tenders. Had three different jobs. Had three different roommates. And traveled abroad to three countries.
The dream of studying abroad was one of the major reasons that I was so excited to move away to college and experience the world. I came from a small farm town in Ohio where I was fairly sheltered about what the world and global community had to offer. Ohio State was the perfect avenue for me to get out and culture myself.
For me, studying abroad has been one of the most beneficial and influential things I have done since moving to Columbus. The summer after my sophomore year I went on a two-week study abroad trip to England and Scotland that was primarily focused on agricultural communication. We spent time learning about the culture of the United Kingdom, eating their foods, talking with locals, admiring architecture, visiting various agricultural newspaper and magazine companies, and comparing their agricultural practices to our own.
This past spring I traveled to Brazil with fourteen of my peers where we spent six weeks immersed in Brazilian culture. Alpha Zeta Partners, a professional agricultural honorary fraternity in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, takes students to Brazil every January to learn about their fast growing agricultural sector. What I learned and experienced while in Brazil taught me more than I could have ever imagined.
Although I can’t speak for everyone, my best advice to incoming and current students is that if you have the opportunity to study abroad and see the world- DO IT! Take the leap. The programs are designed to fit with your class schedule so that you still receive course credit and can stay on track to graduate. There are also programs that you can do where you study abroad during summer break, winter break, and even spring break if you would rather not travel during the school year. Financially, I can almost guarantee that you won’t find a better price point to travel and do everything that is included in the programs. Although they can be somewhat expensive, they are relatively cheap in comparison to doing the exact same trip on your own. There are also scholarships available to students who wish to study abroad, and the College works very hard to financially help out every student that wants to travel. Throughout CFAES there are many trips abroad that focus on agriculture and environmental sciences, but there are also countless programs within the University as a whole that can take you anywhere around the world.
College is the place where you go to learn, and what better way to do that than by traveling and immersing yourself in other cultures? Diversity and cultural awareness are highly sought after in any workplace, and the skills and lessons you learn while abroad way exceed what you can learn in a classroom in Columbus. So my final advice is: get your passport, pack your bags, and go explore all that the world has to offer!
To learn more about study abroad opportunities within CFAES, visit Agricultural Administration Room 100, or email Kelly Newlon at firstname.lastname@example.org. For study abroad opportunities for all of Ohio State, visit the Office of International Affairs.
The “Dear Leah” column is written by agricultural communication senior Leah Schwinn. You can submit a student life related question at email@example.com