Study abroad expands travel opportunities

The University works in association with the Institute for International Studies and the Kentucky Institute for International Studies to offer students a ‘world of opportunities’ with its study abroad programs, held in the summer and during each semester.

The Institute for International Studies provides support for international students and scholars, Murray State students studying abroad, international visits and community education.

Murray State also works with the Kentucky Institute for International Studies, a non-profit organization which strives to establish high-quality, low-cost, academically sound study abroad programs for students. The KIIS options for semester programs this year are to Caen, France, Regensburg, Germany or Segovia, Spain during the spring semester and Merida, Mexico during the fall semester.

Pallavi Thadhani, a graduate from Murray State with a Masters in Business Administration from Corozal Town, Belize, studied abroad in Paris, France and London, England from January 2-January 10, 2012. He said his experience changed his life for the better in many ways.

“This was an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life,” Thadhani said. “I learned so much from executives of many world-renowned organizations and individuals on my study abroad trip. This trip required the MBA students to be open-minded and accept challenges and situations as they were presented. This experience definitely confirmed my dreams of aiming for a job that includes international traveling.”

KIIS offers thousands of dollars in scholarships each year. For its summer programs, KIIS provides one $500 scholarship for each program and in the fall and spring they provided one $750 scholarship to each program.

Murray State encourages students of all fields to study abroad, especially students with majors and minors in a foreign language. Students studying a foreign language are encouraged to attend one of the many summer programs offered, which include countries such as China, France, Spain, Tanzania and others. The programs range from 4 to 6 weeks in length.

Bonnie Higginson, vice president of Academic Affairs, said she has seen many lives change as a result of study abroad programs.

“For many students a study abroad experience can be life changing because they are immersed in another culture and have to step out of their comfort zone as they adjust” Higginson said. “I’ve seen a number of students who have even changed their career goal and career paths.”

Don Robertson, vice president of Student Affairs, said the study abroad programs are one of the best opportunities at Murray State.

“One of the things that makes Murray State very unique is its array and variety of opportunities” Robertson said. “I think it is very important that students have the opportunity and that they take advantage of it because we are a very multicultural world and studying abroad will better prepare them for it.”

Story by Alex Berg, Staff writer