A new look at life while studying abroad


Megan SchiferlJuice Editor

SDSU tells us “You can go anywhere from here.” With the extensive study abroad program available through the International Affairs office, this saying is particularly true. The International Affairs office provides a plethora of opportunities for students on campus.

There is two study abroad options available through the University: short term and long term. The short-term programs range between programs that last two to eight weeks, and are generally led by faculty members from SDSU.

According to the director of International Affairs, Dr. Karl Schmidt, there are a wide variety of short-term trips available. In addition to the more commonly visited places, like Europe, SDSU has many opportunities to study in less developed countries.

SDSU student Aaron Sattler, a junior Spanish and psychology major, is spending this semester in the Dominican Republic.

“Study abroad has been the single most eye opening thing that I’ve ever done in my life. In high school we learn math, history, science, and art. We don’t learn culture,” Sattler said. “Culture is a huge part of who we are, and by learning about others we have a window in which to view our own. It is then we can start to figure out who we are and what life is all about.”

Mark York, a senior agronomy and mathematics major was most impressed with the “bang for your buck’ that studying abroad outside of Europe offered.

“I spent six weeks in Guatemala, learned a language and taught English to a class of 32 six graders for a little over three grand,” York said. “I’m going back this December for three weeks for a total trip price of about $500.”

Maggie Aldrich, a junior sociology major has been in Guam at the University of Guam this semester. Earlier this year, she spent 3 weeks traveling through Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso with a short-term university group sponsored by Dr. Zeno Wicks III. Choosing less developed countries to study in provides a whole new facet to the abroad experience.

“Back home I’m used to so many amenities like a phone and a car and having water available. We don’t have those things here. It’s good, but it’s different,” Aldrich said. “The water is “no bueno’ here. A gallon of water is a quarter so I walk to the campus store and buy water every week.”

One of the things York most enjoyed about studying outside of Europe in a less developed country was how much it made him think about life back home and abroad.

“It really made me think about what my life would be like had I been born there, because most of my friends were about the same age as me,” York said.

In addition to learning in the classroom, the local people provide new and interesting ways to learn.

“My favorite thing about being here is the people. They are welcoming and generous and will bend over backwards to help you,” Aldrich said.

York actually stayed with a host family during his stint in Guatemala.

“I have stayed in contact by email and phone with my [host] family and many of my friends down there. It’s been an awesome experience having friends that live 4000 miles away,” York said.

Studying abroad has many things to teach students, in and out of the classroom.

“Deciding which type of program you want is really a question of how much independence you can muster,” Schmidt said.

No matter where a student decides to go, they will have a different outlook on life while there.

“Back home I’ve always had everything handed to me, its nice to have to actually make do by myself. I feel like I’m actually living,” Aldrich said.

Whether you are looking for two weeks in Costa Rica, or a year in Senegal, SDSU’s International Affairs office has a wide variety of programs for any student. Visit them in West Hall rm. 222 or call the office at (605) 688-4913 to set up an informational appointment.

#1.1731141:1556849871.png:Study-Abroad-2-Megan.png:The quiet canals of Amsterdam provide a welcome reprieve to the students of the Study Abroad West Africa class sponsored by Zeno Wicks III. Before an extended layover in Amsterdam, students and staff spent three weeks traveling through Ghana, Benin, and Berkina Faso.:Collegian Photo by Megan Schiferl