Studying Abroad

The Wood Science and Engineering Department offers many amazing opportunities for students to receive hands-on learning, broaden their perspective, and grow through experiencing diversity of cultures and languages. Studying abroad is one of the avenues students can take to achieve all of those things--take it from Savannah Stanton. Savannah is the Student Outreach Assistant for International Programs and has spent three months on an international internship experience between Chile and Peru. Savannah says that students who study abroad find themselves in a new environment with new ideation and new people which all create a diverse community that will open their perspectives on the world. She explained that for her, personal growth is as important, if not more, than the academic aspect of interning abroad.

One of the most fulfilling opportunities she had was living with a host family while in Chile. Her host family included one of the owners of Alto Horizonte, the company she worked for during her internship experience, which provided new insights of how she interpreted their business. Savannah’s minor in Spanish helped her to learn the anatomy of Spanish grammar, but admits that she enjoyed the practical application of Spanish in real-life situations more than in a classroom.

Some words of encouragement Savannah would give to any student thinking about studying abroad would be to reach out to individuals you know that have traveled abroad. Exploring a different country is not something many people in college have done and it can be scary, so she recommends creating an open dialogue with peers who can answer all the questions someone may have. If there are questions that an experienced friend cannot answer, then that would be a good time to meet with Michele Justice, the Director of International Programs. The College of Forestry is fairly unique for having our own International Programs Coordinator, Michele, to help students find a program for them or build one with them to find a perfect match. Savannah says it is thrilling to be a student outreach facilitator, because she can live vicariously through them to see what they internalize in their time abroad.

Experiencing a new culture, being immersed into a different language, and getting out of your comfort zone are all things that will challenge you and ultimately help you to grow. Upcoming study abroad experiences through College of Forestry include Costa Rica and Borneo with deadlines approaching. If you have any particular location in mind, you can speak with Michele Justice directly to help you find opportunities tailored to your interests.

A study abroad experience in college may be the only time when it is possible for a person to be gone for an extended period, have an institution help pay expenses, and have people who do most of the travel planning for you. Abroad experiences are also very appealing to employers because it shows adaptability and courage. Start looking into upcoming programs or locations you want to travel and make it happen; you just have to make the decision to do it.