Contributed by Bailey Anne Corbin
Bailey Anne Corbin (left), a junior global business major from Panama City, Florida, who is studying abroad in Germany, and Sabrina Zurawka (right), a Troy study abroad student from Heiligenhaus, Germany, pose with a Troy flag in front of the Colosseum in Rome.
With 14 different partner universities spread across Europe, Asia and Africa, Troy students can spend two weeks to a year earning college credits while being immersed in a unique culture.
“Spending time abroad really helps one expand their horizons and understand things from a different perspective,” said Jay Valentine, an assistant professor of philosophy and religion. “Studying in a book about what people think and how their ideas are shaped is one thing compared to actually meeting and hanging out with those people who look at the world vastly differently.”
Sarah McKenzie, coordinator of Study Abroad at Troy, encourages students to study abroad to gain experience that will help further their careers.
“It looks really good on your resume and cover letter,” said McKenzie. “Employers are looking for people who are globally aware and who know how to work with people from other cultures because the world is getting smaller.”
According to McKenzie, students who have studied abroad grow in confidence and learn to think outside the box.
Stephanie Martin, a junior global business major from Annecy, France, wanted to learn Spanish, which led her to study abroad in Costa Rica. According to Martin, the best way to learn the language was to stay in a country that spoke it.
“Studying abroad let me meet people and learn things I couldn’t have in any other way,” said Martin. “I met people and learned things that I couldn’t have in any other ways.”
McKenzie recommends that students who want to study abroad look up Troy’s partner colleges and the classes they offer before deciding where to go to ensure they count towards their degree.
“The classes offered abroad can be transferred back to Troy,” said McKenzie. “Therefore, students are recommended to make their selection after looking at the subjects so that it can add up to their final university degree.”
For Filippo Terzi, a senior biomedical sciences major from Bergamo, Italy, who is spending a semester abroad in Barcelona, Spain, the destination was an easy choice as the college there offered molecular biology courses that he needed as well as a chance to spend time in the city he loved.
“I have been to Barcelona many times before and this city had stolen my heart,” Terzi said. “I love the people and the culture and their open-mindedness.”
“The majority of students here show interest in the study abroad program, but the financial aspect of it hangs people up,” said McKenzie. “But there are a lot of financial avenues available for students to make it happen.”
Students studying abroad can apply for the Chancellor’s Scholarship for Global Competitiveness which awards $1000 to eligible students. Students can apply for this scholarship once every 18 months.
Other scholarships, which are not through the university but can help students fund their studies nevertheless, are also listed on the Troy Study Abroad website.
“Students can use their student loans that they are already getting for their study abroad too,” said McKenzie. “Going to a partner university is advantageous, especially for scholarships receiving students, because they get to pay the tuition fees to the university here and get to study abroad with the scholarship covering their fees abroad.”
Saroj Sharma, a junior computer science major from Pokhara, Nepal, will be spending his Spring 2018 semester studying abroad at University College Ghent in Ghent, Belgium. Sharma said this was made possible because his institutional scholarship covered the cost of tuition.
“When I started in my freshman year, I knew I wanted to spend at least a semester abroad, but the financial aspect of it would bum me down,” Sharma said. “But given that all my tuition fees were going to be covered by my scholarship here, I went ahead with applying.”
Troy University also offers students opportunities to study abroad for a shorter time where students spend between a few weeks or a month abroad.
This year, there are 19 faculty-led trips taking students abroad. Troy Abroad will be hosting the study abroad fair on Feb. 13 in the Trojan Center ballrooms.