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Study Abroad program to expand LU students’ horizons

chinaLamar University offers students the opportunity to achieve global competency through its faculty-led study abroad courses, the Study Abroad Program. The program’s website states that LU aspires to prepare its students for leadership and lifelong learning in a multicultural world.

Norma Zarzosa, coordinator of Global Studies and Study Abroad said that it can be a life-changing experience for students. “Study abroad is usually an open door to the rest of the world,” said Zarzosa. “Students gain self-confidence and develop the strength to take calculated risks while developing an informed view of the globe.”

“This program is a personal, academic and professional enrichment,” said Marielva Caballero, LU alumna with a bachelor in Spanish and minor in pedagogy. “My trip to Spain took me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to succeed in a totally different environment.”

In an increasingly global society, exploring the world and studying abroad can make a significant impact on a student. Immersion in a new culture provides historical, intellectual and technical enhancement as students discover their role in the universal community.

“Studying abroad is the best thing I did in my college career,” said Will Robbins, history and political sciences major. “It has made me a better person, student, and friend, and has better prepared me to help reshape the world after graduation.”

Robbins traveled to Europe in May 2011. He first spent a week in Rome with a friend and then visited Greece and Turkey with two Lamar professors earning him credits in history and political science. Robbins learned history and the impact those cultures had on the world. On the trip, he visited ancient buildings like the Parthenon, Hagia Sophia and the ruins of Ephesus. “It was great to be there, on the spot,” he said. “I also spent a lot of time interacting with local people.”

Robbins is grateful that Lamar helped him realize the experience. Students wanting to study abroad may qualify for an International Education Fee Grant as long as they are currently enrolled at Lamar in a full time degree-granting program.

“Yes, there is a financial obstacle, but Lamar offers scholarships and grants to ease that burden,” said English and Spanish major Amy Morgan. “There are many ways to make it work and the experience is definitely worth every penny.”

There are many benefits of participating in a Study Abroad program. Students develop a personally informed view of the world, participate in new traditions and customs, adapt to new environments, and get an intellectual maturity and personal growth.

“Thanks to this program, I have traveled to Spain, Portugal, England, Italy and Ireland,” said Caballero. “I believe it is a ‘must have’ in your life as a student and future professional.”

She said that if she had the opportunity to be a part of the study abroad program again, she wouldn’t hesitate.

This program is a pathway to global education and opportunity.

Morgan said that she learned a lot about herself and how to be more adaptable in different situations. “You can’t wait around for life to happen to you, you have to go out and live it.”

For more information about the Study Abroad Program, visit http://artssciences.lamar.edu/study-abroad.