CI students study internationally, think globally, grow exponentially

By Marya Jones Barlow

Imagine becoming conversational in a foreign language, trekking through multiple countries, experiencing some of the world’s most iconic historic and scenic landmarks, and having the adventure of a lifetime for roughly the same cost as a semester at CI.

That’s what Greg Combes and Cara Johnson did last year when they traveled to Florence, Italy, as participants in CI’s Study Abroad Program. Now on campus completing their senior year, both plan to return overseas for graduate study, work opportunities, and an expanded knowledge of the world.

“Studying abroad helped me realize that the world is a big beautiful place—one that I plan to keep exploring,” Combes said. “The entire process was full of personal growth and discovery. My time away from all the people and comforts of home gave me the opportunity to take a step back, look at myself, and dig into my own interests.”

“The opportunity to see other places gave me the tools I needed to decide on my more immediate future,” Johnson said. “I went to Edinburgh, Scotland, during spring break and realized that I wanted to get my master’s at the University of Edinburgh. I’m completing the application process right now, and plan to leave this August. I don’t know if I’ll ever come back.”

Studying abroad helped me realize that the world is a big beautiful place—one that I plan to keep exploring.

Greg Combes

Combes and Johnson are two of the more than 150 students who participate each year in international study abroad programs through CI’s International Programs and the Center for International Affairs. The options range from short-term UNIV 392 International Experience courses, which give students a two- to three-week “dose” of a foreign country during a class trip, to year-long study as a visiting student in one of approximately 68 CSU partner universities worldwide.

Those options make foreign study more accessible and affordable for many students. Students may use their financial aid, apply for scholarships offered specifically for study abroad, and tap into the resources offered at CI’s International Programs and Center for International Affairs.

“Some study abroad programs even cost less than living and studying at CI,” said Anna-Sophie Lee, the Study Abroad Advisor for International Programs. “Helping students apply for study abroad is fulfilling because it gives you the opportunity to make someone’s dreams come true. Studying abroad has a lasting effect on a person’s character that goes far beyond the exchange year.”

“The experience was completely worth it,” agreed Melissa Rodriguez, a senior who studied in Canada. “Only 1 percent of university graduates study abroad, which means I’m part of an elite group of students who can put this on my resume. I’m comfortable with the fact that if someone offered me a job across the globe, I would be able to take it without hesitation. I’m no longer limiting myself to jobs or graduate schools in California but opening myself to options around the world.”

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© Fall 2015 / Volume 19 / Number 02 / Bi-annual

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