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

Graduate P Shaylee Ackerman (10) pitches during Texas A&Ms game against Valpo on Feb. 10, 2024 at Davis Diamond.
Holding down the house
February 22, 2024
Graduate P Shaylee Ackerman (10) pitches during Texas A&Ms game against Valpo on Feb. 10, 2024 at Davis Diamond.
Holding down the house
February 22, 2024

Aggies expand knowledge with worldwide travels

 
 

Aggies have traveled across the globe to study abroad, gain new experiences and learn about other cultures. Summer is often a popular time to study abroad because it works better with many students’ degree plans.
Over 3,300 students are going abroad this academic year, which is a 13 percent increase from last year,” said Jane Flaherty, study abroad director. “As part of Vision 20/20, the study abroad office helps to globalize the A&M community and to make Texans more aware of other cultures.”
Jessica Jewell-Elliott, a junior psychology major who studied abroad in Santa Chiara, Italy, for the spring semester, said a desire for an enhanced perspective on a different culture from her own motivated her decision to study abroad.
“I studied abroad to broaden my perspective of knowledge and culture so that I could bring those experiences to what I study, psychology,” said Jewell-Elliott. “But I also went for my own personal reasons. I wanted to let go of life here for a little while and send more time discovering things myself without the distractions I seem to run into a lot here.”
Jewell-Elliott said she misses her personal experience in Italy.
“The friends I made will last a lifetime and Italy itself opened my eyes to a wide range of issues,” she said. “I never got homesick. In fact, I think I’m more homesick for Italy now that I’m back.”
Dustin Ritter, a biomedical engineering graduate student, studied abroad in Rwanda this summer as a teaching assistant and said his time in Rwanda provided real world experiences.
“It was a very rewarding, eye-opening and nontraditional educational experience,” he said. “Our first month consisted of courses while we worked in hospitals, repairing medical equipment during the second month. It provided real world immersive application of the engineering skills we learned during our
undergraduate years.”
Flaherty said studying abroad provides a unique learning opportunity to experience new cultures especially because of Texas’s presence in international markets.
“[The program] allows students to get out of their comfort zones,” she said. “They learn not just academically, but they learn how to navigate in another culture. Texas itself is the leading state for export revenue and is therefore tied to international markets and students need to understand other cultures in order to prepare them for their future careers.”
Alexandria Liquez, a senior international studies and Spanish double major who has studied abroad more than once and is now a study abroad ambassador, said students need to understand their neighbors of the world.
“We are not only American citizens but global citizens,” she said. “The world has become more globalized and we shouldn’t see the world as a matter of us and them. They are our neighbors and although I started out thinking that I would learn about their differences from us, I actually realized how similar they are to us. It’s a worthwhile and inspiring experience.”
Jewell-Elliott said she encouraged other students to study abroad, but also gave some tips for how to have the best experience.
“Everyone should go,” she said. “But make sure you’re open to the experience. Don’t go if you just want to tell people you did it. Go to understand and participate in a different art of our world. Get to know the people of the country you go to. They are the ones that really show you how they live. Don’t be a tourist. Go to learn and grow as an individual and incorporate that into your life when you come back. It’s a beautiful thing, to be exposed to something new, and can be the greatest experience of your life if you let it.”
Ritter said the study abroad office helps to overcome different barriers that students might face.
“Go for it,” he said. “It can be very affordable due to funding, scholarships and online fundraising. It can be hard to make the commitment to decide to study abroad and there may be different barriers like finding the money and navigating paperwork, but the study abroad office provides so much information as well as resources and funding that help the process
go smoother.”
Emily Drastata, a sophomore environmental geosciences major, said her experience this June in Costa Rica and Nicaragua allowed her a new perspective on her own lifestyle.
“I was interested in having a hands-on learning experience, and I ended up having a blast doing field work,” she said. “One highlight was doing research projects at Texas A&M’s property in Costa Rica called The Soltis Center. It was unique to learn in a non-lecture
based environment.”
Christina Berger, a senior international studies major, said she is excited to experience Italian culture in her upcoming study abroad trip to Rome.
“Studying abroad is built into my major, International Studies, which is partly why I chose the major,” she said. “I am blown away by the beauty of diversity and culture in other regions of the world.”

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