Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923
By Michelle Chavez, Staff Writer
Cedar Crest College is trying to give more students the opportunity to study abroad.
While it’s still in the early stages of planning, the college’s plan is to find donations to help reduce the cost, if not allow a trip with just a down payment. The down-payment system has been used in the past to send to students to Costa Rica and Nicaragua with the Living Learning Communities (LLCs).
In the 2012-2013 school year alone, fifty two Cedar Crest students travelled to other countries, such as England, South Korea and Ghana. Another thirty students came to Cedar Crest from other countries.
Hawa Diaby, junior social work major, went on a spring break trip to Nicaragua and a summer program to South Korea in 2014. Through these she learned not only a lot about other cultures, but also about herself.
In South Korea, both her peers and her professors asked Diaby about Islam, including Ramadan and hijab. “It was really great to talk about my religion and myself,” Diaby said, because some of the questions she had not thought about before.
“We learn about cultures, but going abroad lets us experience it,” Diaby said.
Noemi Famula, an international student from Germany, agreed that studying abroad not only helped to learn about other cultures but also about herself.
Famula said the best part about study abroad is her own personal development. “I love my introduction classes because they make me question why I am doing child care. They really help me reexamine my thoughts and affirm them.”
Famula is here at Cedar Crest for one semester. Her college requires a course about international education, but Famula chose to travel abroad to help expand her learning from the course. Traveling to the U.S. gave her a new appreciation of America, Famula added.
Jenny Weatherford, the director of the Office of Global Initiatives and International Programs, agrees that the study abroad program has many benefits, a few of which include personal development, widening perspectives, and more job and graduate school opportunities.
When asked about the cost of the trips, Weatherford agreed that more funding for the trips would help further the mission of the study abroad program.
“We are always looking for new ways to improve our program and give all students the opportunity to travel abroad, for no extra cost or a small down payment. It helps students understand what education is all about, it’s not just about grades,” Weatherford said.
Diaby said financing is the biggest problem for students. “The school should assist students in terms of financing the trip.”
For Diaby, however, the benefits of the program outweighed the cot. “There is so much you can get from the trip,” she said.
Diaby and Famula recommend talking to students who are in the program, either through study abroad or by international exchange to learn more.
Students interested in the study abroad program should also talk to Weatherford.
If there isn’t a program that the school offers that looks interesting, Weatherford can help students find a program. “If there is a program you see that’s being offered, either through another college, or just an outside program, come talk to me and we can figure it out. The possibilities are almost infinite!”