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Student guide to studying abroad

The+Office+of+International+Education+and+Development+is+located+in+room+321+in+Plemmons+Student+Union.+The+office+helps+students+with+the+studying+abroad+application+process.
Jenna Guzman
The Office of International Education and Development is located in room 321 in Plemmons Student Union. The office helps students with the studying abroad application process.

The Office of International Education and Development allows students to explore the opportunity of studying abroad while at App State, providing students with several benefits while abroad.

While abroad, OIED permits students to take various courses from universities that students can then transfer for credit toward their degree.

CJ Maynard, an education abroad advisor, said students have choices when it comes to choosing a study abroad trip, such as shorter faculty-led trips or more independent semester-long trips.

She also said students can choose different programs for their study abroad trip. Students can either study at a partner university through App State or through an authorized third-party exchange program.

Programs offered directly through App State, Maynard said, can range from basic programs to full programs.

  • For basic programs, students pay App State tuition and fees but are responsible for housing and meal costs.
  • For partial programs, students pay App State tuition and fees and housing but are responsible for meal costs.
  • For full programs, students pay the baseline App State tuition and fees, housing and meal costs and pay no extra university fees for studying abroad.

Maynard said in some cases, students can save money by studying abroad through third-party, or ISEP programs in countries where housing costs are lower than App State housing fees. 

Maynard said some benefits of studying abroad include investing in yourself, gaining an international perspective and making new friends. 

She said during the 2022-23 school year, 742 students studied abroad through the OIED department.

Financial aid can be applied to studying abroad. Maynard said the department offered over $60,000 in scholarships during the 2022-23 school year.

“I don’t want anyone to rule out studying abroad,” she said. “We can work with you in our office to find a program that’s going to fit you.”

The education abroad advisor said the exchange programs allow students to fulfill not only their major requirements but also minor, general education and elective courses as long as they are approved in advance by the student’s advisor.

Maynard said the application for studying abroad is a two-step process. First, students must complete the App State application. Students must obtain a professor’s recommendation.

“It’s pretty straightforward,” Maynard said.

Next, the department will conditionally approve a student and help the student complete another application directly to the school abroad they wish to study at.

She said the application deadline for studying abroad during the summer is Feb. 1, 2024.

Maynard said students can attend a Study Abroad 101 workshop to understand what the application process looks like. The final workshop of the semester was held Nov. 7.

The OIED department is located in room 321 in Plemmons Student Union. Walk-in hours are available on Wednesdays from 2-4 p.m.

Students can also book online appointments with education abroad peer advisors. These peer advisors are App State students who have studied abroad and are trained to help advise other students navigating the department.

One of these advisors is Molly Gartner, a senior criminal justice major.

Gartner said her experience studying abroad has helped her prepare prospective study abroad students.

“I have been there,” she said. “When I was getting ready to study abroad, I had never been out of the country before. I had not been on a plane.”

Gartner studied in Florence, Italy during a summer program in 2022.

“It was a great experience,” she said. “It really helped me, like, get out of my comfort zone.”

Gartner said her study abroad experience also helped boost her confidence and allowed her to become open to meeting new people and making new friends in an unfamiliar country.

“I can’t say enough good things about studying abroad,” she said. “So when they sent out an email that they were looking for peer advisors, I was like, ‘Oh, absolutely.’”

Samantha Oleschuk, a senior art and visual culture major, also studied abroad in the summer of 2022. Her program lasted three weeks in Normandy, France.

Oleschuk said studying abroad is a requirement for the Honors College, but said that was not her only reason for studying abroad. 

“I started taking French classes in high school and fell in love with the language,” she said. “I knew that when I came to school if I had the opportunity here at App State that I would love to study abroad.”

Oleschuk said the best part of the trip was immersing herself in the culture.

“I strolled around the castle that’s in the middle of the city, which was amazing,” she said. “I would sit out there and read my book and eat my pain au chocolat and go to the markets. I went to the art museum and just strolled around a million bookshops.”

Instead of living in a dorm or apartment, Oleschuk stayed with an “older couple” for her homestay.

“They treated me like I was family,” she said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better situation and it truly made my study abroad experience the best it could be.”

Oleschuk said her advice to students considering studying abroad would be to apply because they will never receive a chance like this again.

“Now is the time to do it,” she said.
Junior global studies major Grace Knapp has also studied abroad. 

As the PR chair for International Appalachian. International Appalachian is an organization that focuses on internationalizing and globalizing App State’s campus and works with students who come from other countries and study abroad at App State. Knapp has been able to use her experiences from studying abroad to help others in the organization.

Knapp studied abroad in Madrid last spring semester and chose to stay after the program ended throughout the summer to travel.

She said she was enrolled in smaller classes with students from around the world. One of her classes was in Spanish which allowed her to fulfill credits for her Spanish minor. 

Knapp said she had some difficulty transferring credits from abroad back to App State, as some of her classes were focused more on political affairs rather than global ones which were required for App State. Luckily, Knapp said, those credits were able to fulfill her other minor in political science. 

Another challenge Knapp encountered was the task of finding housing.

“I had to find housing all by myself,” she said.

She said she had a connection from International Appalachian who was from Madrid and was able to help her find an apartment.

Knapp said one helpful resource offered by the exchange program was called City Life Madrid, which helped her with transferring phone and banking services, as well as offering different excursions. 

She said the culture was more “laid back” and she had to adapt to changes like relying on public transportation to get to class. While in Spain, Knapp said she developed a better sense of community.

Knapp said one piece of advice she would offer to students considering where to study abroad would be to investigate their own ancestry and consider studying in countries where their roots are from. 

“If you really don’t have any specific culture that you’re fascinated by you can always kind of reach into your ancestry,” she said.

Knapp also said the process for applying to the program and preparing to study abroad can be extensive. She said she would advise students to “be patient.”

Students are allowed to travel to any country of their choosing as long as the country is not in an active war zone or is coded red by the U.S. Department of State. Maynard said among the most popular countries students travel to through the program are Spain and Italy. 

Maynard said one piece of advice she would offer to students considering studying abroad through OIED would be to prepare and to start “sooner rather than later.”

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About the Contributors
Madalyn Edwards, Associate News Editor
Madalyn Edwards (she/her) is a junior English major from Mount Airy, NC. This is her second year with The Appalachian.
Jenna Guzman, Editor-in-Chief
Jenna Guzman (she/her) is a junior journalism and public relations double major with a media studies minor. This is her third year working for The Appalachian.
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