Pack your backpack and come study abroad!

By Yi Lee

How often do you get the opportunity to spend a semester in Rome?

“Go away.” That is what a student would hear after asking the International Education office at Fitchburg State University whether or not they should study abroad.
Because of the state of today’s economy, very few people have extra money in their wallets and think that studying abroad in a foreign country is out of the question.
However, there are scholarships available, and studying abroad is an excellent opportunity to learn about a new culture and immerse yourself in it at the same time. To learn more about the benefits of studying abroad, attend the study abroad information session on April 12 from 3:30-4:30pm in the Hammond Building, alumni room A. If you are unsure about studying abroad, Jessica LaFreniere, a student currently attending Southern New Hampshire University, has four words for you to consider, “Give yourself that chance.”
The staff at the International Education office is no stranger when it comes to traveling and studying abroad. Heather Daly, the international education office secretary, Heidi Wharton, an international education office assistant, and Ge Yao Liu, the director of the international education office, all have traveled abroad. Wharton and Liu had the opportunity to study abroad and experience life in a different country.
Daly says to “Go abroad and widen your education,” and because Daly’s father was a Navy officer, she was able to travel the world quite a bit as a young girl. As a result, her family lived mostly in Vietnam, Japan and around the continent of Asia. In college, Daly did not have the opportunity to study abroad, but she did go to China to visit some friends and said, “Sea slug were the most extreme food I ate in China.” Now doesn’t that taste delicious?
Wharton had the opportunity to travel to Ecuador in a high school student exchange program. During college she traveled back to Ecuador, and according to Wharton, “I went for almost a year. It was so different, everywhere we went we had to say “hello” and “good-bye” to every single person. Everything is so different than the United States.”
Liu came to the United States as a study abroad student from Guang-Xi China when he was a college student.  After he finished college he went to Japan to teach private lessons on English in Chinese. “I came to the United States years ago to study abroad and I never left the United States for good,” said Liu.
So why not study abroad and give yourself the chance to see a part of the world you may never see again? Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience, and if you are on the fence about studying abroad, Daly, Wharton, Liu, and LaFreniere are basically all in agreement, “Give yourself the opportunity.”