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Study Abroad Stories

Our Study Abroad Alumni

 

Meet Shaheed Muhammad

Program Name & Location: Art in Japan
Identifies as a Student of Color and a Non-Traditional Student

Why did you choose to study abroad?
"To learn as much as I could about manga as I could there and if anything, to immerse myself in the culture of a country that I've admired for years now, Japan."

What was one of your favorite parts of the program?
"Visiting the art school at Kiryu University."
shaheed japan 2
What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
"Be open to brand new situations, things you are not used to. Get out of your comfort zone because you probably will have to in some ways when you enter a culture other than your own."

As a non-traditional student and a student of color, how did that impact your experience abroad and where did you find support to navigate any challenges this might have caused?
"The looks that I got from certain native people, a few of them made me uncomfortable. However, I received support from my instructor."

What advice would you give others who share your identity?
"Be open to any and everything. Be aware of your surroundings and where you are."

Where are you now?
"I graduated from CSU in the summer of 2018 with my Bachelors of Arts degree. Two months after I graduated, I received an offer from Kiryu University to be the very first international student to ever attend there. Going to the art school where I can get extensive training into my dream career in being a manga artist. I was even told of a student there that got picked up by Shonen Jump, the most widely known Japanese manga magazine in the world. I was later accepted into the school. Me and the school have worked vigorously for 5 months heading to when I’d eventually go but unfortunately, I had to cancel the trip because of finances. After taking the time to think about it afterwards, I’ve decided to give it another shot. I am currently in the process of looking for a full-time job and when I do get one, I am going to start saving up right away for my return trip to Japan for Kiryu University as an international student."




Meet Myesha Harper

Program Name & Location: Education in Ecuador
Identifies as a Student of Color
myesha ecuador
What was one of your favorite parts of the program?
"My favorite part was being in the classroom with the children while they had their Spanish lesson and learning some Spanish while there."

What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
"Apply early! If you have any interest in studying abroad, speak to the global engagement office as soon as possible. Scholarships go by quick but you could have your entire trip paid for if you start applying early!"

What did you learn about yourself?
"I learned that I like adventures more than I thought. On the trip, I was happy to try something new and exciting and it was so fun."





     


Meet Lexi Eubanks

Program Name & Location: Oxford Summer Session II - Music
Identifies as a LGBTQ+ Student

Why did you choose to study abroad?
"I had never been out of the country before and this class gave me the opportunity to go abroad with my applied professor to study a subject that would really benefit my health and career as a musician. "
lexi oxford
What was one of your favorite parts of the program?
"I really enjoyed the awareness classes. These classes brought to my attention aspects of myself I had no idea about as well as expand my range of choices in my mind and body!"

What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
"Don't be afraid to take opportunities to go to new places! Bring a journal and take as many pictures as you can. The program will go by fast and memories may blur together."

What did you learn about yourself?
"I learned that I definitely want to continue traveling and possibly go to graduate school in Europe!"

As someone who identifies as an LGBTQ+ student, in what ways did that impact your experience abroad if any?
"No, it really didn't. I wasn't afraid to be myself and that applies to when I'm in the US as well. There does seem to be a lot more support for LGBTQ+ people in England though, so it felt comforting that the support was there."

Do you have any advice for other LGBTQ+ students who are considering to study abroad?
"Don't be afraid to be yourself. I never experienced any discrimination on my sexuality in Europe. There's support for LGBTQ+ all throughout England, so I wouldn't worry about having to deal with discrimination. If I had encountered discrimination, then I know that my professor and classmates would be there to support me and help me through it."

Where did you find support to navigate any challenges you faced while abroad?
"I went to my professor and any classmates in the program for support."

Would you study abroad again?
"Absolutely!"




 

Meet Anna Adams

Program Name & Location: Art in Italy
anna italy
What was one of your favorite parts of the program?
"I walked down streets centuries older than the United States and viewed artworks created by and for people who now seem more like myths than historical figures. We can learn a great deal about a subject from a classroom, but there is an entirely different aspect that can only be felt by visiting places in person to experience them."

What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
"Study hard but also remember to relax! Remember that you're here to learn new things, in your classes and in your day-to-day life. Try something new, sit outside with a cappuccino and watch the city, have time to walk around with a tight schedule."

What did you learn about yourself?
"Trying to see every important building, artwork, and landmark is an ambitious and formidable task, but it's absolutely necessary to have time to relax, especially in a foreign environment. I really loved going to the parks in Florence and the other cities we visited and simply relaxing on the grass."

Would you study abroad again?
"Absolutely! I loved so many parts of my program and made great friends while there I might never have gotten close to otherwise."

 

 

Meet Shannon R. Eshman

Program & Location: Educational Leadership - Spring Break 2010 in Oxford, England
Major/Minor: Special Education and in the Honors College
 
shannon england
What did you learn about yourself?
"I learned that I adore traveling. I already have my next trip all planned out. Some of my favorite things became the national galleries, cathedrals, and pubs that I went to on this trip. I also learned that I really like castles. It was interesting to me to see the birthplace of King James and to discover that he, the Scottish king went to rule England when Elizabeth died without an heir thereby making England (technically) ruled by the Scottish."

What was one of your favorite parts of your program?
"My favorite part of the program was getting to see how best practices in education vary across cultures."

What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
"1. Please plan out your trips to the city. If you don't plan, you will waste more time, money, and energy than you would like. If you are anything like myself, I had very little time, just a bit of money, and was incredibly jet-lagged (it didn't hit until day 2/3, but when it did, it hit HARD). 2. Don't buy a bunch of souvenirs. Postcards will suffice for the folks back home. Stamps are a great (and cheap) souvenir to buy for yourself. Plus, Postcards can be sent ahead and take up no space in your luggage. I made the mistake of buying too many souvenirs... half of which ended up in the garbage after I spent the money to buy them and the $100.00 overweight baggage fee to get them all home. 3. Be in the pictures you take. 4. Attend a church service in Westminster or St. Paul's Cathedral. If that isn't possible, attend a choral evensong. The music is beautiful. 5. Try a jacket potato with beans and cheese. 6. Have a bacon bun with HP sauce. I had exactly two during my trip. One was on the train to Scotland and one was bought at Starbucks moments before I left England on my flight back home. I brought back two small packets of HP sauce. The other night I put the sauce on some ham and biscuits I was having at home and I was taken back to my travels. 7. Go to see the Phantom of the Opera. Chills. "

Where did you find support to navigate any challenges you faced while abroad?
"I found support in my faith in God. When dealing with people, (introverts raise your hands), I tried to remember to stay true to my values. It was trying to share a room with a complete stranger and have classmates in the immediate vicinity at all hours. I thought that it would be much easier than it was. I also found support in my notes and preparation for the trip. Beyond the roommates, everything else was simple; Oxford was easy to navigate, the tube in London was simple to understand, and the touristy part of London is best understood as north and south of the Thames and separated into four vertical sections by the Millenium Bridge, Tower Bridge, and the London bridge. "
 

Meet Tammie Pierce

Program Name & Location: Comparative Education in Japan
Identifies as a First- Generation College Student & Graduate Student
 
Why did you choose to study abroad?
"I have always wanted to study abroad, have always wanted to visit Japan, and needed to fulfill elective courses for my degree - when the opportunity to study Education in Japan came along, it was too perfect to pass up."

What was one of your favorite parts of the program?
"Meeting with a former CSU Education graduate who is teaching English in Japan, and discussing how he is using his western education techniques in a very different culture and setting."

What did you learn about yourself?
"I learned that I have a great deal to gain from international travel, and that engaging with discussions with educators globally can have a valuable impact on my teaching practices back home in my rural, southern school district. I also learned to refine my professional communication skills in difficult situations."

In what ways did your particular identity impact your experience abroad?
"I am the first person in my family to attend college and the first to travel abroad for study - I have only traveled internationally once prior, 15 years ago when I was 17 year old. My family has no experience with international travel. While my family understood that this trip was important to me and that it was an amazing opportunity, it was difficult for me to explain to them the professional and academic growth I experienced. Luckily, there was a diverse group of students (undergraduate, graduate, and non-degree seeking) on the trip, and we became very close. Additionally, the program coordinator did a wonderful job of 'debriefing' each night with us, discussing our experiences and perceptions openly, and helped us navigate and make sense of all the new experiences we were having. The CSU community I had with me on the trip was incredibly important in providing me with others to share my professional and academic growth with, as without them I would have had no one who would have understood."

What advice would you give others who share your particular identity?
"As a first-generation college student, the biggest advice I can give is to TAKE STUDY ABROAD CLASSES. Apply for grants, apply for scholarships, plans a few semesters ahead if you have to save money, but please - take a study abroad course! It will change your life, your global perspective, how you see your degree or major and, more importantly, how you see yourself. For graduate students I would strongly encourage you to take study abroad for your elective courses - it is the greatest investment in your advanced degree I think you can make."
 

Meet Jake Heindel

Program Name & Location: Computer Science in Japan
Identifies as a First-Generation College Student

What was one of your favorite parts of the program?
"The home visit was my favorite part of the trip. It taught me a lot about Japanese culture."

What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
"
To bring enough physical money so that you won't have to worry about debit/credit cards."

What did you learn about yourself?
"I learned that I can be more outgoing and that I can be even more outgoing than before the trip."


Meet Katrina Nicholas

Program Name & Location: Chonnam National University International Summer Session
katrina cnu korea
What was one of your favorite parts of the program?
"Being included with other international students in the program."

What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
"Research the countries' culture and language more than just the greetings and fashion trends. For the traditional students who have never traveled before, it is worth the experience to go to a country entirely different from your own if you keep an open mind set. "

What did you learn about yourself?
"That I truly was much stronger than I thought. "

Where did you find support to navigate any challenges you faced while abroad?
"My “buddies” were able to help us not get lost besides the language barrier with the locals. Also, the other students in the program may have their own interests in the country’s they visit and introduce some new information about hotspots and tourism."

Where are you now?
"I have graduated since May of this year. Two months prior to graduation, I got a job in Japan as an English teacher. I start in October so I still have some things left to do! The program provided me with clarity on how society in different countries work and thrive. Do not give up!"
 
 

Meet Teale Moran

Program Name & Location: Heilbronn University Summer School in Germany
Identifies as a First-Generation College Student
teale heilbronn germany
How did being a first-generation college student impact your experience abroad?
"I am a first-generation college student, so being able to even have this opportunity was beyond enlightening and encouraging for me! I was so happy to make my family proud by embracing each and every opportunity that God blessed me with."

What was one of your favorite parts of the program?
"My favorite part about the program was the friendships that I made that will last a lifetime. I would have never had to opportunity to have friends from around the world without CSU's Global Engagement programs!"

What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
"My advice for future study abroad students is to experience something new everyday and embrace each moment! We, ourselves, are our biggest limitations, so don't hold anything back. Whether that be a foreign food, a new cultural tradition, or attempting to learn the language, do it!"

What did you learn about yourself?
"I learned that I am able to step out of my comfort zone, and that I will only experience the best times of my life doing things that seem intimidating at first. I can communicate with other people from different backgrounds without hesitation now, and I am so excited for my next abroad trip! "

Where are you now?
"I graduated in 2017 with a B.B.A. in Management and I currently work full-time in the Alumni Engagement and University Advancement Office at CSU."
 

Meet Ayreon Oliver

Program Name & Location: Education in Ecuador

What was one of your favorite parts of the program?
"Visiting the private school and observing their normal class day. Also, the excursions were amazing."

What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
"Before getting on the plane make your heart open to every new opportunity that will occur. Do not try to predetermine the trip."

What did you learn about yourself?
"I learned that my love for teaching has expanded beyond the classroom."

Where did you find support to navigate any challenges you faced while abroad?
"My adviser, Dr. Dre acted as more than just my professor. He always made sure we were safe and taught us about the importance of being openminded."
 

Meet a First-Generation, Veteran, Non-Traditional Student, & STEM Major

Program Name & Location: Ecology of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

What was one of your favorite parts of the program?
"Being on the Napo River in the Amazon."

What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
"Take it all in, everything you do is potentially a once in a lifetime opportunity."

What did you learn about yourself?
"TIt is easier for me to adapt to changes than most."

In what ways did your particular identities that you identify with impact your experience abroad?
"Being a veteran prepares you for trips like this is too many ways to count. Frustrations with mass transportation, adapting to changes, and dealing with the elements, are the most notable."

Is there any advice you would give others who share your identity?
As veterans, you should take advantage of the trip. We travel a lot but are more mission-oriented during those travels. Study abroad allows you to take in the culture and experience a different country looking through the eyes of a tourist or local as opposed to a soldier."

 

Meet a First-Generation & LGBTQ+ Student

Program Name & Location: Theatre in Dublin/London

What was one of your favorite parts of the program?
"All the sites I saw."

What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
"Explore as much as possible."

What did you learn about yourself?
"That I need to leave America forever."

Meet a Student of Color

Program Name & Location: Spanish Immersion in Spain

Why did you choose to study abroad?
"It has always been a dream of mine to travel outside of our country, which was made possible through some of CSU's grants and scholarships. I wanted to fully immerse myself in a culture other than the ones I'm used to. Also this was a wonderful opportunity to fulfill some credits."

Where did you find support to navigate any challenges you faced while abroad as a student of color?
"I found support among the people I traveled with that I didn't know beforehand because strangers would occasionally stare at me."

What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
"Unlike everybody on the trip, I had a carry-on like suitcase because that was the only one I had, a school backpack and a camera case. If you aren't able to borrow or buy a large suitcase, I would definitely recommend looking up YouTube videos on the rolling clothes technique to make the most of your luggage. I recommend not bringing every outfit you think you're going to wear but packing a minimal amount of clothes you can make multiple outfits from. No one noticed I packed a week's worth of clothes for a month, and I had room for souvenirs and clothes I bought there. I also didn't have to worry about my luggage being overweight like all of my colleagues."

What did you learn about yourself?
"I became much more fascinated by the simple things of life. Communication definitely became important as most people didn't speak English, and Spanish was the common ground. I learned to become more confident in talking about myself and my lifestyle by talking in Spanish to international students."