Academic Programs Abroad

Comments From Program Alumni

Learn about how study abroad has impacted their lives after college

Student in Italy Brittany Faulkner graduated in December 2011 with degrees in business management and liberal studies. Her study abroad experiences set her on an exciting journey. Brittany says, "Study abroad not only let me take courses to satisfy my ISU requirements, but it allowed me to live in a country I had only dreamed of visiting. I traveled around Western Europe, ate tasty treats, met lifelong friends, and expanded my view of the world."  Her time in Italy jump started her global experience. After Brittany returned she started working for Janis and went on two shorter programs to Taiwan and then Ireland. 

These programs prepared Brittany the international experience required by her summer internship for Global Village." This was a six week internship that allowed me to practice business consulting, participate in development seminars and interact with 110 other inters from 48 countries!"

All of her experiences paid off. When Brittany graduated she already had a job lined up with Leadership exCHANGE, a study abroad organization based in Bloomington, IN. Brittany says, "I started out pursuing study abroad because I wanted to travel, but the additional experiences I encountered have shaped my career." Studying abroad gave Brittany wonderful memories and an edge into the professional world.

Brittany encourages all students to take advantage of study abroad opportunities, "It's going to impact your future in more ways than you can anticipate.

Erin-China Erin Braun

"I graduated from in May of 2010 with a degree in Finance.

Five years after studying abroad, I still can’t explain how significant my summer in China has impacted me. My service learning program (half spent studying in Beijing, half teaching English in rural China) still catches employers eyes on my resume and ensures I always have something unique to discuss during an interview or networking experience.

Spending time in a country where I didn’t speak the language or understand the culture has made me more culturally sensitive.

My time studying abroad has made some of the fondest memories of my life. I went alone and didn’t know anyone on my trip. I now have friends all over the United States through social media and it’s possible to actually keep in touch. I gained social and personal awareness. My experiences have made many things including moving across the country, traveling for business, and adapting to many new situations easier.

The one memory I will never forget in China is a visit to a rural village. We were given tea in plastic Dixie cups that were literally melting in our hands. In China, you don’t drink the tap water, but while I listened to the family speak about how little they had (the tea was a HUGE gift), I humbly drank the tea in complete honor. I realized that even though I was in a service-learning program, I would take more from my experience than I would ever give.

If you are considering studying abroad, stop considering, pick a program that will challenge you, and go. You’ll get more from the experience than anything else you will ever chose to do. You can see anything in books, but the experiences you gain are impossible to duplicate or even imagine."

Erik Andersen graduated from ISU in May 2009 with a degree in Insurance and Risk Management. While at ISU he completed a semester study abroad experience in Rome, Italy at the American University of Rome during the Spring semester.

Erik stated: "Study abroad provided me fuel for wanting to learn about new cultures, people, and continue to travel and discover new things,: which lead him to enrolling in a management course that would allow him to travel to Taiwan during his spring break, the following spring. He was able to visit various businesses in the financial services industry and local attractions.

Since graduation he has moved to Orlando, Florida where he is pursing a career as a Commercial Insurance Broker. 

"Living in Florida where there is a very diverse population, it is nice to share cultural experiences with others. From studying abroad, I have learned how to find common ground with anyone, and that a simple conversation can lead to a good business deal and great friendship," explained Erik.

Student on Beach

For Betsy Bender, one study abroad experience was not enough, she spent two full semesters abroad before she graduated. "The first study abroad experience was in Rosario, Argentina where I was on a Spanish language and business program and lived with a host family. I spent time traveling and really discovering my independence. The second study abroad was in Murcia, Spain. I also was studying Spanish on this trip."

By the end of each semester Betsy gained many important skills. "I consider these study abroad experiences some of the most important parts of my education. I gained problem solving skills, foreign language skills, independence, and patience. "These skills have served her well as she looked for a job.

Betsy now lives in Washington DC working as an HR manager of two Nordstrom Rack stores. "I have achieved success in my career in large part by the skills I learned studying abroad. I regularly use my Spanish skills and have been exposed to a very diverse environment and feel well equipped to relate to it."

Living in a different country can sound daunting, "but the study abroad office at Indiana State does a superb job of preparing you and giving you the skills to be successful. Don't miss out on this experience!"

Two Girls on Horse by Egyptian Ruins

Sarah Christian spent a semester at American College of Thessaloniki, ISU’s partner school in Greece. She graduated in 2010 with degrees in history and legal studies. After graduation she spent a year working in Cairo with the Office of the Vice President for Planning and Administration.

Because of her work she has been able to study Arabic and witness the revolutions in Egypt. "What does any of this have to do with studying abroad? Everything! Studying abroad opens up minds to new experiences and new cultures. Study abroad showed me first hand that other people have different ways of doing things, and that that's okay."

Sarah’s work in Cairo was possible because of her study abroad experiences. "Having successfully completed a semester abroad is what gave me the courage and confidence to undertake an entire year abroad in an even more "exotic" location. My year in Cairo has without a doubt firmly shaped my career path and my life."

What Sarah did after Cairo is impressive. "In October 2011, I began a position as an Associate with Chemonics International, an international development consulting company. They design and implement foreign aid contracts in developing countries, mostly from USAID. My position is in their Egypt, North Africa, and Yemen Region, where I support a USAID project in Egypt." Her career opportunities and professional development all started with a semester in Greece.

Sarah’s advice? It doesn't even matter which country or part of the world you go to, just go somewhere.

julian easterly Julian Easterly graduated in December 2011 with a degree in English, a minor in Language Studies, and a Certification to Teach English as a Second Language (TESL). While at one time he was an aimless wanderer drifting though the darkness, his study abroad experiences have given him both light and direction. Julian says, “Do it while your young and do it while it’s cheap. There is no better time than the present. How many people can say that they’ve lived in a place most only see in photographs? If you have to pay for college anyway, you might as well use that money to do it abroad for a while!”

Edge Hill University in the United Kingdom was a gateway to various other global experiences. Since that journey, Julian has traveled to Spain, Italy, Ireland, and Wales among many other places. He worked for Janis for two years, the first year being completely voluntarily and has even studied in France where he coached American Football. “You think that going abroad is going to be completely different from your way of life and your right! However, you will also discover subtle parallels that might shock you even more. Football In France!?

That's what studying abroad is about: not only embracing the differences but bridging the similarities.” Since graduation, Julian has worked in education and has recently received a job in Caen, in northern France. From there, he plans to complete a Master’s degree and start a new life abroad. “My only out of country experience was traveling to Canada which, at the time, is five minutes from where I lived in Detroit. Now, I’ve not only studied and worked abroad, I’m going to live there. Who knew?”

Two Student

Whitney Morris came to ISU knowing she wanted to study abroad. "I constantly heard in my classes, “What’s going to set you apart from your peers? What is going to get you hired when you graduate?” Spanish was my outlet, but I knew that classes were only the beginning: I needed to study abroad." As an English Teaching major, she also wanted to become fluent in Spanish. Whitney took the opportunity to study in Argentina with nothing but two suitcases and the promise of tango dancing and amazing shoes, Whitney began the journey of a lifetime.

Studying abroad offers many unique experiences which Whitney discovered both professionally and personally." During the ins and outs of visits to Janis’ office, I met a German named Simon. He was studying with the ISEP program from Germany and we introduced ourselves to each other. That was the start to a transatlantic romance which five years later turned into what is now a wonderful marriage. Finding the love of my life was simply one sweet coincidence in a long line of excitement and advantage that studying abroad gave me."

In terms of career, studying abroad certainly gave Whitney a competitive edge in the job market. "I’ve had major career opportunities. Upon graduating, I moved to Germany and taught English for five months, until I was offered a job with AmeriCorps to teach at an all-Spanish speaking school in San Francisco, California."

Whitney now works in Berlin, Germany developing a multi-lingual education program with some of Germany’s top educators. She believes studying abroad changed her life: "My life has been more enriching than I ever expected because of friends, love, and my career, and it all started with studying abroad"

Bart Robinson had no idea where his study abroad experience would lead him when he first applied for a semester in France and then an internship in South Africa. "Studying abroad really opened up a whole new set of possibilities I didn't even know was out there." Those unexpected opportunities are what directed Bart's career choice. "I've been lucky enough to see some amazing places and meet some one-of-a-kind people through study abroad, but the best part is that studying abroad is only the beginning to a great future that you never saw coming. From Europe to Africa to Europe again and then Asia; I never thought in a million years that I would be working as a development economist in Vietnam, but here I am."

Like many other students Bart found that, "study abroad has given me the necessary people skills and the attitude to go wherever I want to go and pursue whatever future career I care to pursue.

"For Bart studying abroad is not just a vacation to another country. "It's a new experience that is incorporated into your life and how you view things."