More American Students Studying Abroad

Megan Walker, West Texas A&M student
Megan Walker, West Texas A&M student
Desiree Norton, Study Abroad Coordinator at West Texas A&M.
Desiree Norton, Study Abroad Coordinator at West Texas A&M.

More students are like Megan Walker, who are taking time from their regular classes to spend time studying abroad.

"It was amazing, I had so much fun, really getting to connect with the people there and living with a host family was just incredible," said the West Texas A&M student.

According to a new survey by the Institute of International Education, the number of students who are studying abroad is up 8.5 percent from the previous year.

Many universities are now trying to develop stronger international ties and the most popular way is through study abroad programs.

"I think within the last 5 to 10 years, study abroad has really taken off, so now more universities are seeing the benefit of having a study abroad program on campus and sending more students overseas," said Desiree Norton, the Study Abroad Coordinator at West Texas A&M.

Norton said last summer 24 students spent their time in study abroad programs, this summer she said there were 115 students.

Norton said not only does the study abroad experience help students academically but it gives them real-world experience that they can take throughout their lives.

"Personally it helps them in their career goals. It definitely looks good on a resume. More employers are looking for global experience and independence, which definitely is something that students gain when they're abroad," said Norton.

Megan Walker agrees.

"It's definitely made me more of an outgoing person, having to go up and just talk to people, even with our international students on campus, it's just great to meet new friends and see how people of our world are so different," said Walker.

Norton said right now summer is a popular time to go study because it does not interfere with regular class schedules, but hopes to get more students to take a semester or more abroad.

For those who are concerned about the cost of travelling abroad, Norton said there are ways to get financial aid.  You can stop by the Study Abroad Office in the STARR building or call 651-5309 for more information.