The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggies go global

Photo by Provided

Bradley Panneton and the A&M Germany Architecture for All Majors class at the Munich Olympic stadium in Munich, Germany.

As thousands of students return to College Station for a new semester, many other Aggies are pursuing educational opportunities around the world, reinforcing Texas A&M’s status as a leader in study abroad programs.
In 2017 alone, over 5,500 Aggies studied abroad in more than 100 countries. Study abroad experiences lead to increased hireability, higher salaries and higher levels of acceptance into graduate schools, according to data from major study abroad organization IES Abroad.
Pascale Parker is the interim director for the study abroad programs office and oversees faculty-led trips with teachers and transfer credit programs at a foreign institution. According to Parker, Texas A&M has led the country for the past two years as the number one public university in the nation, sending students to study abroad experiences.
“I am a study abroad child,” Parker said. “I am French [and] I [studied abroad] from my French university. What it gave me was amazing abilities, the ability to articulate things better and also to stand out from the pile of CVs.”
Architecture graduate of 2018, Bradley Panneton traveled with A&M’s Germany Architecture for All Majors trip to Bonn and Munich.
“I was required to study abroad for my major,” Panneton said. “But it’s crazy how it turned out. We studied old buildings. Now the company that hired me is working on a project renovating an old building. Before I knew it, I was putting what I learned in Germany to use.”
The study abroad programs office allows students to explore a wide range of options, Parker said, with various price ranges and trips tailored to the needs and interests of participants. Some programs are geared toward religious groups, LGBTQ students and those with disabilities.
“We are very strong on providing diversity in the programs, because students are diverse, they are coming from different backgrounds,” Parker said. “We’re really dealing with diverse countries, diverse programs, but also diverse students and therefore, we strongly believe that we should have a lot of different programs.”
International studies senior Samantha Funderburgh participated in a Global Sports Partners internship in Muscat, Oman. Taking part in a sports program for women there, Funderburgh experienced Arab culture first-hand.
“One thing that really stood out to me was how generous people were there,” Funderburgh said. “I met some people at a coffee shop … before I knew it they were welcoming me into their home.”
As an international studies major, Funderburgh’s coursework required her to study abroad in a country where her language of study, Arabic, is commonly spoken. Funderburgh plans to return to the area and continue similar work after her graduation.
“I met with women who were training for the Olympics,” Funderburgh said. “Women don’t have as much of an opportunity to play sports there. I spent most of the time walking the streets meeting people, it was an amazing experience.”
Parker said students should stop by the study abroad office to decide where to travel. Peer mentors can help students narrow down their options to decide trip length, coursework and their region of interest.
“We have peer counselors, students who have studied abroad,” Parker said. “They can walk them through how it works and also how to navigate the funding.”
Students can decide between one-week field trips over spring break, six-weeks or 10-week programs. Study abroad trips give students the opportunity to travel with programs not directly associated with A&M and take classes at foreign institutions through a reciprocal exchange as a more affordable option.
“If you take the time, there are a lot of possibilities,” Parker said. “It doesn’t have to be expensive … It’s all about planning, working with the resources you have and it’s absolutely doable.”

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