Studying abroad provides unique education

Scuba diving in the ocean, exploring and hiking tropical islands and skydiving from above while learning the ropes when sailing at sea, these are just the few out the many unforgettable memories longtime crew member Taylor Shedd experienced while studying and working abroad at Seamester. 

Seamester is one of several study abroad programs offered for students looking for transferred credits or work experience after graduation.  While traveling the world is at the top on most students bucket list, affordability and time are usually two of the leading factors that end up keeping the dream from becoming a reality. 

On Wednesday, tables each presenting their own study abroad program were lined up starting at 10 a.m. in the Salazar Quad for the Study and Work Abroad Fair. Whether students who are interested in continuing their education in a different country through Sonoma State University, or those looking at options for traveling abroad after graduation, they can find the most information at this event. 

“Why wouldn’t anyone want to study abroad? Not only is one of the most exciting experiences you can have in college, but there are also many different programs to choose from internally and externally that it will in no doubt change your life,” International and Exchange Program Advisor Hope Ortiz said. “That’s why this event is so important for students to ask questions and find out more information on the many possibilities.” 

According to Ortiz, there shouldn’t be any reason a student in college can’t study abroad financially. Stating it is actually cheaper for students to study abroad than to take classes at the university especially when financial aid pays for students. Studying abroad can also benefit students that need classes in their impacted majors. Students that have trouble finding the classes they need in order to graduate will have easier access to gaining the credits that they need when studying abroad ultimately helping them graduate faster. 

According to UC Merced study abroad statistics, 97 percent of study abroad students found jobs within 12 months of graduation, while only 49 percent of non-traveling students found employment. 

Some of the study abroad programs that were tabled at the event included; The Education Abroad Network, Barcelona Study Abroad Experience, Academic Programs International, Peace Corps, Semester at Sea and Seamester. Each program includes its own unique experience for students that have either a particular destination or interest. 

“I’ve been in the study abroad field for about 20 years now landing a job working for Academic Programs International. I’ve traveled just about everywhere from Australia to France and then to South Korea making incredible memories that have lasted and it all started taking the chance to study abroad in college. I will never forget teaching English in South Korea and listening to how men in military so easily picked up on the lingo of another culture,” Senior Director of University Relations Julie Van Vechten Smith said. 

Those that are interested in traveling by boat should look at the programs Semester at Sea and Seamester. While both offer a semester of classes on ship taught by professors, students obtain hands on learning that can’t be experienced anywhere else. Seamester is unique in a way that students on board have the chance to learn sailing and scuba diving skills in addition to classroom studies.  

“It is absolutely life changing because you get be completely out of your comfort zone and everyone is set equal so you can be yourself with no outside pressure to be anything else but yourself. And working on a boat is such a unique environment where you rely on everyone else for your own survival so there is a huge amount of trust in a way that I have never had the chance to get to know someone as closely before. The craziest thing for me as a student and a staff member is everyone back home seeing your pictures and asking about the trip when there’s only so many things you can say because no one will ever fully grasp the extent that each person has on board,”  Shedd said.

“I definitely felt this fair was welcoming to new students like myself who is are interested in traveling while taking the classes that we need. It also helped me realize the many options that I have for the next four years in college. I’m now interested in interning in Australia with The Education Abroad Network program,” freshman David Burkhalter said.