Students sampls Study Abroad programs


When you’re not sure whether or not you’re going to like something, you start with a little taste. Officials at South Dakota State University are hoping to expand the study abroad program by giving students just that: a little taste.

SDSU President Peggy Gordon Miller started a program two years ago aimed at taking students out of the country to visit the university’s sister institutions and get a feel for what it would be like to study there. The hope is that those students will either return to study at those institutions for a semester or encourage their peers to go.

Marysz Rames, vice president for Student Affairs, will be discussing those site visits during the third presentation in the N.E. Hansen Lecture Series. Her talk, “The Value of the Site Visit: Sweden, the UK, China and Poland,” will be held Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 4:00 p.m. in room 122 of the Intramural Building.

Rames, along with Karl Schmidt, director of International Affairs, and occasionally President Miller, have traveled to the United Kingdom and Sweden, China and most recently Poland. The group takes four to six students on each trip.

“We focused on student government leaders, as well as students who were involved with things like admissions ambassadors, orientation leaders and University Program Council,” she said, adding that they mainly target sophomores. “The goal is to get them overseas to experience what it would be like to study abroad.”

The groups spend about 10 days overseas, much of that time at the universities talking with faculty and students, trying to get a feel for what it would be like to spend an entire semester there. The groups travel and take in some sites, as well. While in Poland at Warsaw Agricultural University, the group traveled by train to Krakow and Budapest.

“We want to show the students how easy it is to move across Europe and see a variety of things if they choose to study abroad,” she said.

Rames said students from each of the trips will attend the lecture and talk about their experiences overseas.

“The ultimate goal is to expand study abroad and share those experiences and opportunities with students,” she said. “But the impact it has on the students that go is really phenomenal. We’ve taken students who have never been out of the country, and it’s delightful to see those students grow and enjoy interacting with individuals from other countries. They always come back feeling the world isn’t quite as big as they once thought it was.”

The lecture series is dedicated to N.E. Hansen, the renowned SDSU plant scientist who helped establish SDSU’s global perspective early in the 20th century. The Ag Heritage Museum and the Office of International Affairs sponsor the talks, which run weekly through Nov. 9.