Opportunities abound for students to study in other countries

The recent Global Learning Fair aimed to help promote Washington State University’s selection of education abroad programs. Though the majority of the opportunities are based out of WSU’s Pullman campus, students of all WSU branches can still take part in any of the over 1,200 programs offered. The programs’ structure and benefits vary depending on their type: exchange, faculty-led, internship, and third party providers.

According to Virginia Gabby, global learning advisor, education abroad programs are a valuable opportunity for students to help shape a global perspective. Additionally, Gabby said that participating in one of these programs can give a student an advantage in applying for a job after graduation. 40 percent of jobs in Washington State have some sort of international aspect to them.

A student’s first step in participating in the program is to meet with an education abroad advisor in the student resource center. These advisors work closely with the Global Learning Office in Pullman and provide students with the details of education abroad programs and registration.

Before applying, students should make sure they meet all requirements: at least a 2.5 grade point average, good academic standing, and no conduct violations. Additionally, students should make sure that they have room in their graduation schedule. Meeting with an academic advisor can help ensure that a specific education abroad program meets a student’s needed credits and fits with their academic plan.

The Global Learning Office, while located at the Pullman campus, is still available as a resource to all WSU students through their webpage and email. Their global learning advisors can help students to discover the perfect program for themselves by weighing factors like desired location, price range, and classes offered. The office also serves as additional support for students once they have registered for a program. They keep students informed about changes in security and safety concerns in the student’s chosen country.

A number of scholarship opportunities exist for students interested in studying abroad. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is available for undergraduate students who currently qualify for the Federal Pell Grant. Students who receive that scholarship will get up to $5,000 for program costs. The Boren Award for International Study grants up to $20,000 to students who are currently studying a critical need language. The languages that are considered critically needed are ones that do not get studied frequently, such as Korean and Russian. A complete list of scholarships can be found on the WSU Global Learning page. Additionally, if a student goes through one of WSU’s partner International Education Organizations, he or she might be eligible for other scholarships offered exclusively by these third parties.

The first and only education abroad program offered out of WSU Vancouver offers students the chance to visit Cuba while simultaneously earning credits towards graduation. This faculty-led program is headed by Spanish professor María Lee-López and will take place next summer.

Students interested in education abroad may contact the Student Resource Center in person at their offices at the lower level of VSSC or through email at src@vancouver.wsu.edu. Students may contact the Global Learning Office by telephone at 509-335-2541 or through email at ip.admin@wsu.edu.

Photo of Global Learning Fair by Gregory Walker

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