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Pre-freshman study abroad program aids, connects future Jackrabbits

SUBMITTED%0ASDSU+students+take+a+pre-freshman+study+abroad+experience+to+Ireland+in+the+summer+of+2017.+The+group+went+abroad+before+they+moved+on+campus+at+SDSU+in+fall+of+2017.
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Pre-freshman study abroad program aids, connects future Jackrabbits

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SDSU students take a pre-freshman study abroad experience to Ireland in the summer of 2017. The group went abroad before they moved on campus at SDSU in fall of 2017.

SUBMITTED SDSU students take a pre-freshman study abroad experience to Ireland in the summer of 2017. The group went abroad before they moved on campus at SDSU in fall of 2017.

SUBMITTED SDSU students take a pre-freshman study abroad experience to Ireland in the summer of 2017. The group went abroad before they moved on campus at SDSU in fall of 2017.

SUBMITTED SDSU students take a pre-freshman study abroad experience to Ireland in the summer of 2017. The group went abroad before they moved on campus at SDSU in fall of 2017.

Natalie Hilden

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Carley Schumacher remembers her pre-freshman study abroad experience in Ireland as one that helped her successfully grow as a person, and aid her transition into college.

“My experience made me more outgoing, get out of my shell and willing to try new things,” she said. “It got me ready for college living.”

According to study abroad adviser Briana Litz, until two years ago study abroad experiences have only been available starting sophomore year, but are now offered to students before they even begin college.

So far, students who have studied abroad before attending SDSU have gone to Germany and Ireland.

Litz said she personally witnessed the improvement of her students throughout their experience in Germany.

“At the beginning they were all tentative, but by the end they grew independent socially and academically through our journaling and discussion,” she said.

Schumacher said she valued the discussions during her time abroad, and the experience led to her finding a group of friends before she even came to campus.

The study abroad program at SDSU continues to help students learn through new and exciting experiences that go well beyond what campus has to offer.

Bradley Drake, senior mechanical engineering major, said his semester in Ireland was a culturally immersive experience he would recommend to any of his fellow Jackrabbits.

“The truth is, anybody can do it, and people should do it,” he said. “As I’ve talked to other students who have studied abroad, we all have the same responses, and it’s that studying abroad will be one of the most significant times of your life.”

Litz thinks many students are wary of participating in study abroad because they don’t want to miss out on typical traditions and events during the semester they are away.

“There is no other experience like it. You can’t get it anywhere else, and it will stick with you forever,” Litz said.

She hopes positive word-of-mouth will continue to increase student interest in planning their own study abroad experience, and she always pushes interested students to ignore any fear they may have so they don’t “scare themselves out of a richly rewarding experience.”

The Office of International Affairs is currently working on starting new faculty-led programs and spreading the word about upcoming international internship opportunities, which Litz hopes will increase the amount of students studying abroad.

Joshua Gross, freshman mechanical engineering major, said the culture in Germany during his pre-freshman experience put his world in perspective and gave him a lot of values to bring back to SDSU.

“It showed me things that I like and things that I dislike about American culture. I learned that German culture emphasizes respect,” Gross said. “I want to bring that same emphasis back to the SDSU community.”

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Pre-freshman study abroad program aids, connects future Jackrabbits