Photos above include: (left) Alix Ferguson in Pisa, Italy, by the Leaning Tower of Pisa; (center) Baron Tomlinson in Galway, Ireland; and (right) Charmayne Hyatt with a kangaroo friend in Townsville, Australia.
"College is about adventure and exploring and expanding your understanding of the world. But it's hard to really do that if you're just in a classroom," says Director of International Programs Jennifer Gay. "You've got to get out there in the world and challenge yourself. That's why I recommend every student study abroad sometime in their college career."
And every Fort Lewis student can get this powerful and vital experience thanks to the help Gay's International Programs office and a growing variety of options for studying abroad -- including FLC's new membership in the International Student Exchange Program.
"Any student can go abroad," says Gay, who is also coordinator of the National Student Exchange program. "And that international cultural experience is going to set you ahead living in the very globalized world and economy we're living in."
Fort Lewis provides a lot of support to shape and create the best study-abroad experience for each student individually and personally, including fund-raising and budgeting support. There are several avenues for FLC students to study abroad:
through Fort Lewis' many international reciprocal-exchange partnerships, in which students pay only their Fort Lewis tuition and fees while studying abroad;
enrolling directly in a foreign institution as a visiting student;
via third-party providers, paid for by the students themselves;
and, starting this Fall, via the International Student Exchange Program, a non-profit world-wide network of more than 300 colleges and universities in 45 countries cooperating to provide affordable access to international studies. Through the program, Fort Lewis will send students overseas, and in exchange our campus will host students from countries including Morocco, Austria, Japan, Portugal, and Northern Ireland.
The International Programs Office makes sure students are ready for their study-abroad adventures. To prepare students, the Office offers "International Studies" (GS 250), a one-credit class that helps students investigate destinations and programs, and work through the steps to setting up a study-abroad experience. The course also examines foreign academic systems and teaching methodologies, passports, visas, financial aid, and travel health and safety.
"Planning early is really a bonus," says Gay. "In GS 250, we help students choose the right program and location for them, but we also talk about how they can afford it, and also why they want to go, and when sequentially the best time is for them to go with their studies or athletics, or their lives. The goal is that they enhance and complement their degree plans rather than complicate or delay them."
The work is worth the reward, Gay adds. "I've never had a student come back that has regretted going abroad. It's something that when students return they always say it's the best thing they did with their college career."
For more information, visit the International Programs website: