At K-State, over 800 students study, intern, volunteer, or research abroad every year. Students earn credit toward their KSU degree requirements, build collaborative international partnerships, and develop skills and competencies that give them an advantage as they enter a global economy and competitive job market after graduation.
Ask most education abroad returnees, and there is a good chance they will credit their experience abroad as one of their most influential and rewarding experiences in college. Upon a student’s return, their parents, too, often notice the difference in their student’s confidence and adaptability, their ability to act more independently and take initiative, and the way they manage stress and cope with adversity. Each of these skills and competencies acquired abroad is transferable to life back at K-State and after graduation. According to one parent of a study abroad student, “it was initially difficult for us to ‘let go’, but our daughter returned to campus with new perspectives, not only of global cultures, but observations of her own U.S. and Kansas culture as well. We feel that her K-State international experiences played a big role in determining her career trajectory.”
Studying abroad can be personally and academically transformational. Many colleges and departments at K-State are focused on incorporating international opportunities into students’ degree plans. To focus on the academic and professional benefits of an international experience, Education Abroad at K-State advises by academic discipline rather than by geographic region of interest. For example, a student in the College of Business will work with an Education Abroad advisor dedicated to that college. This structure focuses advising and goal-setting on exploration of students’ academic plans in order to identify programs abroad that enable students stay on track with their graduation and career goals.
Education Abroad assists and prepares students through all stages of the journey, including pre-departure orientation, credit transfer guidance, and numerous workshops related to managing money abroad, health and safety abroad, and traveling abroad for the first time. Once a student is abroad, the office continues to maintain communication with students, to work with partner universities abroad, and advise students anytime challenges arise. The office also hosts post-study abroad programming, including a Professional Development Workshop, co-sponsored with the Career Center, whereby students work to identify some of the skills and qualities they developed abroad that are valued by employers.
While Education Abroad believes that each student is ultimately responsible for his or her own experience abroad, having the support of parents and family throughout the entire process is invaluable. Understanding the cost, and value, associated with an education abroad experience is often important for both students and parents. Education Abroad shares this interest as well. The office works with students to not only plan ahead, develop a budget, and explore ways to fund their experience abroad, but also to dispel myths about education abroad being an expensive investment that is out of reach for many students and families. It often surprises students to learn that there are education abroad programs that are less expensive than a semester or summer at K-State.
Health and safety abroad is often another area concern of parents. A parent may have reservations about their daughter or son traveling abroad on their own for an entire semester. At K-State, a majority of students who study abroad do so on short-term K-State sponsored programs led by K-State faculty and staff. These “faculty led programs” give students the opportunity to study abroad during break periods (summer term, winter interim, and spring or fall breaks), so they don’t have to be away from K-State for an entire semester.
The programs allow students to earn K-State credit, participate in the program with other K-State students, and to receive the structure and support of Kansas State University.
One such program that has grown in popularity and positive reputation is Kansas State University in Italy, which is located in the Umbrian hill town of Orvieto. This affiliate entity acts like an extension of K-State, allowing students to have an immersive international experience and receive quality student support services. In summer 2019, ten courses across six colleges will be represented, making K-State in Italy a truly interdisciplinary experience. Students from different colleges and majors will join a global K-State family as they interact with one another and engage with the local community.
For more information about other exciting international opportunities offered through Education Abroad at K-State, visit our website!
Education Abroad also has a page for parents and families that includes additional information about how you can support your student’s international endeavors.