While summer usually signifies working and staying at home, for some Murray State students it means a chance to study abroad.
Three hundred students at Murray State participated in Study Abroad programs last year. Study abroad programs are offered for the fall and spring semester and summer and winter breaks.
Steven Guns, education abroad adviser, said the Study Abroad Office offers programs that are a great opportunity for students.
“Most (students) study abroad during the summer,” Guns said.
Brianna Moss, sophomore from Sheffield, Ala., has participated in several study abroad programs. She said her favorite trip was Prague-Berlin. “Ecuador and Costa Rica were more outdoorsy, but Berlin had the best food,” Moss said.
She said her love of travel and meeting new people is what motivated her to study abroad. She said she encourages other students to study abroad because of the life-long friends that are made during travels. “You have to be open to meeting new people though,” she said. “The first trip that I went on I didn’t know anybody. In fact, everyone on the trip had only met each other the day before.”
Moss said there are some drawbacks to about traveling abroad. She said it is best to learn to go with the flow and expect changes.
Within a few weeks, students from Murray State will experience cultural differences first hand. A group of students will ship out to visit Xindao and the Shandong Province in China May 22. They will be under the guidance of Jie Wu, assistant professor of Chinese.
Dollie Jo Alexander, junior from Benton, Ky., will join her for this trip on a full scholarship from the University.
She said she is somewhere between excited and terrified to experience a new culture. “I want to be completely open and absorb everything so that I can come back with no regrets,” she said.
Although the deadline for studying abroad this summer has passed, the Study Abroad Office has already released information on programs that will be available for summer 2015. So far, 12 countries are listed, including Japan and Germany.
Emily Cayton, freshman from O’Fallon, Ill., said she hopes to be able to study abroad next summer. Her desire to study abroad stems from having lived at Camp Zama, Japan for more than 12 years.
“I know I want to study abroad somewhere in Europe,” she said. Cayton said she is interested in the nursing program in Hungary as a possibility.
Scholarships for studying abroad are not guaranteed, but 85-100 percent of students who apply receive a scholarship, Guns said.
Before applying for a scholarship, students have to commit to a program and pay a registration fee.
The scholarship amount awarded is based on the number of applicants and the quality of the application submitted.
“The Study Abroad Office is pretty helpful, but you have to be dedicated to the program,” Moss said.
When a student applies for a study abroad program, they are assigned an education adviser. Moss said having an adviser was helpful to finding out what she needed to know.
For students seeking more information, the Study Abroad Office is located in Woods Hall.
Story by Mari-Alice Jasper, Contributing writer