Broadening cultural horizons

Alyse Nelson
Features Editor

Tori Roper
Staff Writer

An interest fair for traveling abroad will give students the chance to explore their options beyond Troy’s campus.
Maria Frigge, director of study abroad, said that there will be tables set up by Troy University, partner schools and others to give out information about both studying and interning in other countries.
Those that will attend include KEI Abroad, S&I Corp. and Global Experiences Inc., according to Frigge. All of these are organizations dedicated to helping students find opportunities abroad.
In addition, partner schools of Troy University will be represented and will provide information on different programs slated for the 2016 spring semester.
“Right now I’m trying to recruit students to study abroad for a semester,” Frigge said.
Thuy Nguyen, a senior economics major from Hanoi, Vietnam, spent a semester studying at the University of Ghent, one of Troy’s partner schools.
“Going to Belgium teaches me about how diverse this world is and how life can be different from home, whether in Hanoi, Vietnam, or in Alabama, U.S.,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen said that while she was there she was able to travel to 12 countries and visit friends that she had made in the international program at Troy. She also commented on the beauty of the European setting.
“Imagine if you can see castles, ancient churches and museums every day you go to class,” she said. “Imagine if you walk on a cobblestone street every day.”
Nguyen’s main mode of transportation around Ghent was on bicycle. Also different from Troy were her expectations for classwork.
“This experience teaches me how relaxing the system in the U.S. is,” she said. “Academically, it was a challenging semester.”
The semester in Belgium lasted from January until June, with the entirety of June devoted to studying for the final exams. While it was more difficult than testing at Troy, Nguyen said that a 50 percent is considered passing.
“Therefore, although I didn’t get high grades as I did in the U.S., I was very happy with my academic results,” she said.
“Also, going out there into the world opens your mind to the world,” she said. “It teaches you that America is not the center of the world — that we, being in America or being American, are not the center of the world.
“Let’s be honest. People elsewhere have their own language, have their own culture, their own educational system.”
Nguyen is currently sailing with Semester at Sea from this month until December 2015.
Rachel Fournier, lecturer in the modern languages and classics department, sponsored a trip to Spain this past summer, and plans to sponsor a similar trip to Spain in 2016.
“Students are enrolled in a language institute while abroad and attend Spanish classes Monday through Friday,” she said.
“Students stay with Spanish host families, which is a great way to not only practice the Spanish language, but to learn about daily Spanish life,” Fournier said. “Students eat daily meals with their families and have a wide variety of conversations. Students are really able to learn a lot about the culture through this experience.”
Though this year was the first
time Fournier sponsored the trip, she said that she has been to Spain many times.
“One of my favorite things about Spain during the summer is the long summer days,” she said. “The sun doesn’t usually set until around 10 p.m.”
“Although the trip is open to anyone who would like to learn Spanish, this past summer I only traveled with students who were either Spanish majors or minors,” Fournier said. “I would welcome anyone truly interested in the Spanish language and Spanish culture to contact me about the trip.”
The fair will be held in the Trojan Center Ballrooms on Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and is free to attend.

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