Photo By Becky Raspe

Gabi Uskokovic, a junior studying electrical engineering, won a trip sponsored by the AIFS Study Abroad group, to go to either Ecuador or Ireland.

 

February 29, 2016

CISP hosts Wheel of Study Abroad

The Center for International Services and Programs (CISP) held its first Wheel of Study Abroad event Thursday, Feb. 25, to raffle off five scholarships that would fully fund university-affiliated study abroad summer programs. The event was open to any undergraduate students who were in good standing and would not graduate before December 2016.

Each student selected had the opportunity to spin the wheel, containing sections that had two programs listed on the spoke. Whichever spoke was landed on, the winner would have two programs to choose from – both fully funded.

Winning students would choose their preferred trip that contained one free program fee, one round trip airline ticket, and food. The only fees that the winning students would have to pay for would be passport fees, transportation while abroad, visa expenses and any other applicable personal needs.

The study abroad programs go through Cleveland State University’s Education Abroad program, which is facilitated through CISP.

“Education Abroad is experimental learning in another country,” said Erika Roitblat, a graduate assistant for Education Abroad. “We hope that this event will get students who have not previously thought [about] it.

Our goal is to have the winners come back from their time abroad and share their stories with other students in order to energize the student body to think about study abroad as part of their career plan.”

Though different opportunities to curb the cost of study abroad programs exist, many programs suffer low participation and actively have to search for interested students. According to Roitblat, students not knowing their financial options for study abroad programs are a big factor in the low numbers of students traveling.

“What some students don’t realize is that there are many ways to offset the cost of a program,” Roitblat said.

“Students can use their financial aid and there are also many scholarships out there specifically for study abroad.”

Roitblat emphasized that studying abroad was a great opportunity to enhance a resume, set a person apart from other job applicants and offers deep personal enrichment.

“Study abroad is truly life changing,” Roitblat said. “Taking the leap into another country is not just about what you learn in the classroom but what you will take away from the locals, the new culture you experience and the growth you will have as a person – without even realizing it.”

The National Survey for Student Engagement supports this notion – as its results list studying abroad as a “high-impact practice” (HIP) for students while they are in higher education. These “high-impact practices” are selected according to their positive associations with student learning. According to NSSE, HIPs require “time and effort, facilitate learning outside the classroom, require meaningful interactions with faculty and students, encourage collaboration with diverse others and provide frequent substantive feedback.”

Ellie Rickett, a junior majoring in Spanish and minoring in education, expressed that studying abroad in Spain was a life-changing experience.

“I think I learned more Spanish in the one month I was abroad than I had in three years,” Rickett said. “I think I have changed as a person from this experience, as I find myself more open to try new things as before my hesitancy would get the best of me.”

Rickett said that she plans on studying abroad again this summer, but before she had trouble keeping up with deadlines and scholarships. Cleveland State’s CISP personnel hope to combat this issue every year, as many students frequently bail from the program because of finances.

“We will have to see how much funds we receive next year,” Roitblat said, on the topic of whether or not CISP will hold the Wheel of Study Abroad next year. “We would love to do this annually. Every student deserves the chance to travel, make memories and have a purpose in doing it.”



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