Panel encourages students to study abroad


Alyssa Mitchell

View from the London Eye overlooking the city of London, United Kingdom. Photo by Alyssa Mitchell

Students who are considering studying abroad next summer listened to a panel of four students speak about their experiences studying abroad in Dillard Room 101 at 6 p.m. Nov. 12.

Michael Mills, international education director, who facilitated the discussion, said, “I know there’s some of you in here that studying abroad probably makes you a little bit nervous and I would imagine there are a couple of them up here on the panel that felt the same way.”

For an hour, Mills asked the panel a series of questions while the four students described their different experiences and takeaways from the programs to about 30 prospective students.

Jada Propes, panelist and political science senior, said, “It opened my eyes that this world is big and there’s much to learn through the experience.”

Students found immersing themselves in a different culture helped provide them with the ability to speak a different language instead of just being able to read it.

Panelist Mikaila Billinger, biology and Spanish junior, said, “The medical Spanish class I was in really improved my Spanish-speaking confidence.”

Students will discover any language barrier serves to simply enhance their thinking skills, panelists said.

“A month after I left Spain, I was [still] thinking in Spanish,” Propes said. “Our house lady only spoke Spanish, so we had to speak Spanish to her.”

Mills said he encourages all students to take advantage of these programs offered through the university despite the possible “uncomfortableness of being gone.”

“When I had this opportunity for the job and I was able to take it, it has been the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had,” Mills said.

When choosing what foods to eat for their meals, students who have studied abroad, recommend branching out and trying new things.

“American food in other countries doesn’t taste like American food [here],” Billinger said.

While studying abroad and traveling can be fun, it is still academically based and designed for learning.

“You have a very strict attendance policy. There’s a letter grade off of your final grade for each class that you miss,” Mills said. “We’re giving you a lot of credit in a very short period of time.”

Places to study abroad with MSU:

  1. London – capital of the United Kingdom
  2. Spain – country in Europe
  3. France – country in Europe
  4. Grenada – country in the Caribbean