By Erin Posjena |Staff Writer|
The term “studying abroad” often conjures images of far away places and exotic food; however, few people know that studying abroad can also mean traveling within the United States.
Studying abroad, both nationally and internationally, can offer students the chance to immerse themselves into new cultures and gain new perspectives on life.
Expanding your learning destinations can teach independence and offer students a chance to experience a different education system.
CSUSB communications major, Jonathan Ng, chose to participate in the study abroad program on the national level at the University of Oregon for the Fall 2013 quarter.
Ng chose to participate because he likes to travel, was ready for a change of scenery, and wanted to see how he could handle true independence.
“I wanted to go in as a boy and come out as a man,” Ng chuckles.
He chose to attend the University of Oregon mainly because he was attracted to their journalism program, which he says is one of the best in the nation.
He also hoped to make connections while out there in hopes of landing an internship with the Oregon-based company, Nike.
Skeptics may question whether or not Jonathan got the full study abroad experience that comes with studying in a foreign country, but Ng explains that this is far from the truth.
“It was a change. The people, the environment and the food were so different,” said Ng.
Ng reflects on the differences the University of Oregon offered as opposed to CSUSB and he says that the sports and school spirit are more prominent in Oregon and their food is superior.
He notes that unlike CSUSB, diversity on their campus is severely lacking and the weather is much colder in Oregon, with temperatures as low as -8 degrees!
The cultural differences that Ng experienced seemed to be endless.
He describes the people to be much more “earthy” and environmentally conscious, the curriculum to be much more demanding and jokes about how when the sun comes out in Oregon, it’s a public event.
I asked Ng what advice he would give any students considering participating in the program and he says, “Do it! It’s worth the experience. It definitely broadens your perspective on life.”
Ng also reminds students that staying in the country offers them the luxury of not having a communication barrier with the locals as well as it being much cheaper.
He says that most programs allow you to pay the same tuition you would be paying here and his program cost only $1,000 more in tuition for a quarter there than he would have paid at CSUSB.
The National Student Exchange program, coordinated by Dr. Theron Pace and located in Badger Hall (near the dorms), offered Ng his abroad experience.
Students interested in the program must have a minimum of a 2.5 GPA, pay regular CSUSB tuition (your financial aid goes with you) and must apply by the Feb. 1 deadline.
The National Student Exchange program could give you a chance to experience all the cultural and scholastic benefits that Jonathan Ng did with his quarter abroad.