Ruben E. Smith
Northwestern State University students can live, work and study in other countries through the university’s International Student Resource Center and Study Abroad department.
Victoria Roderick, a senior criminal justice major, went to the University of Angers in France last spring.
“Having the opportunity to go abroad was one the most amazing experiences I have ever received,” Roderick said.
Roderick talked highly of the help NSU faculty provided throughout her time in the program.
She said her time in France would be something she would remember for a lifetime, especially having the chance to go to Paris during spring break.
Roderick said adjusting to the French school system was a bit difficult at first, but she adapted very well and found classes she could use for her major’s requirements here so she wouldn’t be behind.
Her advice to any student thinking of going abroad is “ask any question you have,” and learn some of the language of the country you would like to study in.
Zoe Almaraz, a criminal justice major with an English minor, studied this past fall at Shenzhen University in China. Almaraz said her time abroad allowed her to learn about all types of culture and people.
“I had a chance to experience so many things that I wouldn’t have gotten to had I stayed in America,” Almaraz said.
Almaraz took classes in business, which she said could be useful in her career. Her advice to anyone thinking of studying abroad is “to do research” and “to just do it.”
“It’s a really fun experience, and it’s a way to sort of live a different life for a while,” Almaraz said.
Roderick or Almaraz both said they would take the opportunity to study abroad again.
Vivian Pedroza, who works for the International Student Resource Center and Study Abroad, said the best time to study abroad is now.
“NSU sends two or three students every semester for a semester exchange through one of NSU’s bilateral agreements or partner institutions abroad,” Pedroza said.
“Seeing how people from another country live, work, study is life changing,” Pedroza said. “The career opportunities are broadened, language skills are sharpened, new friendships are formed and the student experiences an overall personal development.”
Study abroad programs at NSU are available to all majors.
“For exchange programs (one to two semesters abroad) the student has to be in junior/senior classification” Pedroza said. “For summer programs for foreign languages the student must have completed at least 24 credit hours by the spring semester, successfully completed the language pre-requisite, have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and be a full-time student,” Pedroza said.
Dr. Telba Espinoza-Contreras, who runs the program, emphasized that tuition is paid through NSU while students study abroad and that housing is often less expensive. The program also offers summer language programs in France and Mexico.
“Start inquiring, planning and saving at least one year before the semester or the time you want to go abroad,” Espinoza-Contreras said. “Talk to your academic advisor and come visit the ISRC as soon as you have the interest to study abroad so that together we can start planning your experience abroad.”