The first week at a new place is always a blur. Especially at a new school where students are adjusting to an entirely new lifestyle. All the induction ceremonies, receptions, and seminars merge together to form a hazy fog in the back of the memory. The three questions I learned to answer that week were “What’s your name?” “What’s your major?” and “Why are you at State?”[state]
I would say, “Allisence…journalism…I dunno…you?” And my new acquaintance would answer rather similarly, rather blandly, just like I did. Even names didn’t seem to differ that much, since every other guy at State is named John and every other girl is named Sarah.
Surprisingly, after that entire week, there was only one response to the last question that I still remember as being at least somewhat different from all the other “I dunno’s” and “just cuz’s.” One girl, her name was probably Sarah, stated that she came to State specifically for its study abroad program. My jaw almost dropped; I didn’t even know MSU sponsored study abroad. Clearly, I was still very much in the dark about the nation’s largest and world renowned study abroad program.
Spanning over 200 programs in more than 60 countries, MSU’s study abroad program is indisputably one of the greatest opportunities available at this university. Courses and class curriculums are based on every continent in the world including Antarctica. Programs focus not only on the academic aspects of studying in a foreign country but the professional contacts and relationships that are made during the stay as well.
All MSU programs offer full immersion experiences with students either staying in university equivalent dorms or with pre-approved host-families. Classes consist of Americans as well as host-country students and are separated into three different categories: MSU courses, transfer credit courses, and language courses.
MSU course programs offer university classes in a foreign country approved by the individual colleges on campus. Student performance is assessed by MSU staff and credits coincide with all MSU requirements. Transfer credit courses, on the other hand, are courses offered directly by the host university. The credits for these courses are then transferred to count toward MSU graduation. The most intriguing courses, however, are the language courses which require student proficiency in the host language. These courses are not only MSU approved but add another layer to full immersion study abroad.
The reason that MSU has such a world renowned study abroad program is largely due to your leadership as president in developing this essential part of undergraduate education. During your 11 years at State, the program has expanded from a mere 60 programs to now over 200. In 1993, programs were already offered in 34 different countries around the globe but have now swelled to remarkably 64 countries. Over 2,200 students studied abroad last year alone, and the numbers are only rising. From what used to be exclusively available for those with extra cash, the study abroad program offered by MSU is approximately the same price as studying on campus. Therefore, along with numerous available scholarships, money should never be considered a hindrance to going abroad.
Without your hard work, a large percentage of students who have gone, currently are, or are planning to go abroad would have been left without this extraordinary experience. With so many different opportunities and programs to choose from, there is bound to be a trip fit for every student on campus. The work you have done on the study abroad program here at MSU contributed to the decision made by President George W. Bush to appoint you as the leader of the national study abroad commission which promotes the expansion of study abroad in all universities and colleges.
After I found out that the largest study abroad program of any university is right here at my fingertips, it would be ridiculous of me or any other student to not take advantage of this study abroad opportunity to the fullest extent. Nowadays, my jaw drops whenever I hear that someone won’t go abroad because it seems like too much of a hassle; in the end, the experience is worth much more than avoiding any minor obstacles in their way.
Studying A. Broad