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Study Abroad Program expands educational borders

Lamar University offers students the opportunity to achieve global competency through its faculty-led study abroad courses in the Study Abroad Program. Lamar aspires to prepare its students for leadership and lifelong learning in a multicultural world.

“At first, the students may feel afraid of leaving their comfort zone and face the unknown with some preconceived ideas,” said Norma Zarzosa, coordinator of Global Studies and Study Abroad. “But once the students are placed in a different country, they immerse themselves within the language and culture and they embrace the differences.”

Zarzosa sees study abroad as an open door to the rest of the world since students have the opportunity to discover, learn and enjoy a way of life other than their own and therefore gain personal growth and maturity.

“One of the most important benefits is learning to adapt to new environments,” she said. “It ultimately becomes a tool to assist students in shaping their careers.”

In the age of globalization, an intimate understanding of a foreign culture is both a valuable academic asset and an enriching personal experience.

“I would definitely recommend it to other students, especially if you plan on competing against others for jobs and promotions.” said Richard Rosario, who recently traveled to Spain. “I always attract a recruiter's attention when I say that I studied abroad as opposed to saying I visited as a tourist.”

European cities are the most popular destinations with London attracting more than twice the number of students than any other city. The top choices for non-European cities include Buenos Aires, Sydney and Beijing.  Lamar students have traveled to China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Mexico and Spain, and have an opportunity to pursue study abroad in other countries as well.

“Going to Spain got me fully immersed into the culture,” said Rosario. “I've seen my Spanish improve, both oral and written, but what amazed me the most was the bond and friendship that I made with my Lamar classmates and other students from around the world.”

Rosario's best memory was walking the Camino de Santiago for two days enjoying the Spanish countryside and taking pictures of the beautiful scenery in the company of his Korean, German, Italian and other foreign friends.

“Seeing the pictures on screen or in a textbook is not the same thing as seeing it in person and experiencing it,” he said. “I learned and saw things that I couldn't learn from any classroom.”

All students came back from their study abroad saying that it was an experience that changed their lives and made them better students and people.

“Yes, there can be 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.”

“Since joining Lamar, President Evans has been a steadfast proponent for increasing faculty and student participation in study abroad,” said Joe Nordgren, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Students in particular have a great deal to look forward to while charting their futures.”

Native Lamar students, as well as international students, are eligible to apply for a study abroad grant which assists the students with a portion of the total cost of the program

For more information about the Study Abroad Program, visit www.lamar.edu/studyabroad or contact Norma Zarzosa at (409) 880-8593 / norma.zarzosa@lamar.edu or Joe Nordgren (409) 880-7852 / joe.nordgren@lamar.edu .