Troy University offers a wide array of programs for students to build an understanding of the world at large. The Troy Study Abroad Program is one of those platforms.
Director of Troy Abroad, Orlando Pacheco, came to Troy in the summer of 2010 and reengineered the office, its faculty led initiatives and the exchange programs for the benefit of both student and faculty members.
“Studying abroad provides both faculty and students quality learning experiences that increase students’ knowledge on an array of issues, advances their critical thinking, tolerance and understanding of cultural diversity,” Pacheco said. “Studying abroad helps students to gain international awareness, global competency and to better compete in the worldwide job market.”
Since coming to Troy, Pacheco has implemented an eleven-point action plan to include developing a mission, vision, objectives statement and a meaningful website for the program.
He has also established at least 10 bilateral partnerships for studies abroad in countries including China, Costa Rica, Cuba, England and Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Morocco, Turkey, Singapore, Spain and Uruguay.
During the spring 2013 semester, many students took the course Special Topics in Biology in preparation for a trip to Costa Rica through the study abroad program.
The students involved with the trip spent two weeks in Costa Rica studying the health care system to benefit the students’ futures in the medical field in the U.S.
“We went to compare the health care there to what we have here,” said Jana Allen, senior biomedical sciences major from Luverne. “We were able to get experience working under a doctor and attained some valuable job shadowing hours.”
Allen explained how she had learned about how different the health care system works in Costa Rica versus the U.S.
She said that Costa Rican health care is socialist and that every citizen is completely covered by the government. The down side being that nonemergency patients are put onto a waiting list.
The cost of the trip was a little more expensive than Allen liked or anticipated, but she said the experience was worth the cost.
“We hope to have approved this fall a scholarship program for studies abroad,” Pacheco said. “It may provide students in need at least $750 to apply toward a study abroad initiative of their choice.”
The benefit to studying abroad, Pacheco said, is that you are a better-rounded student. Troy Study Abroad provides an opportunity for students to build self-confidence and critical thinking, important for future work opportunities.
“Students return home with lasting memories, a more cosmopolitan understanding of their surroundings, their own belief systems and an improved capacity to function in multicultural settings,” Pacheco said.