Studying German in a classroom with textbooks and study guides is one way to learn a foreign language.
Andy Joynt, a senior studying business marketing and German took another approach; he lived in Germany.
“We would sit down and have a beer with some random people and they were more than willing to help us with the language,” Joynt said.
Joynt lived and studied in Hannover, Germany, last semester through CSU’s Study Abroad Program.
“I really enjoyed it, I’m considering moving there for a year,” he said.
The Study Abroad Program at CSU sends nearly 500 students a year to thirteen different countries around the world, said Karyn Sweeney, a study abroad adviser for the Office of International Programs.
With so many choices, Sweeney tells students to choose a school depending on the classes and country the student is interested in.
The students should also consider “whether they want to study with Americans or foreign students,” Sweeney said.
The first step to finding out about each program is to talk to the peer study abroad advisers in the Office of International Programs. These are students who have studied abroad in the past and can answer questions students have about the different programs, Sweeney said.
Once a student has decided on a school, an application process follows. The application includes a recommendation from a faculty member, an essay telling why the student wants to study abroad and an interview with one of the peer advisors.
Depending on the program, grade point averages can become a factor in acceptance, although a low GPA should not discourage students from studying abroad, Sweeney said.
“Some programs are more flexible with GPA’s, if a student has a lower GPA, they should come talk to us about it,” she said.
Kim Patton, a sophomore liberal arts major, is interested in studying abroad but she has some hesitations.
“I’m worried about the cost and finding a roommate to take my place,” she said.
Sometimes studying abroad can be less expensive than studying at CSU.
“When you study abroad, it’s the same (cost) for in- and out-of-state, so if you’re out-of-state, you could possibly save money,” Sweeney said.
Study Abroad offers a program called Reciprocal Exchange where a student studying abroad pays the same amount they would while attending CSU. This program is limited to students who demonstrate financial need and academic eligibility, according to a program brochure. Reciprocal Exchange sends a CSU student to another school and a student from that school will come to CSU.
Sweeney said when comparing the cost of living in Fort Collins, studying in the Czech Republic is actually less expensive than at CSU.
“It’s about $3,000 a semester with room and board,” she said.
Shelley Bolesta, a senior journalism student and peer adviser in the study abroad office, studied in the south of France in spring 2002. She had a few problems with transportation and the language barrier at the beginning of her semester.
“The buses were always late and we got stranded once and had to hitchhike home,” she said.
Over the semester, her language skills improved.
“It improved a hundred times,” she said. “One semester (in France) was better than several years of French class.”
Along with the excitement of seeing a new country, Joynt saw the advantages of living in a new culture.
“You don’t realize how different people are until you’re there to hear about their day-to-day living,” he said.
The deadline for the spring 2004 study abroad programs is September 15.
Students who may be interested in studying abroad in the summer or fall of 2004 can find out more during the study abroad fair on Sept. 25 in the Main Ballroom of the Lory Student Center. The fair will provide third-party programs for students who are interested in schools that CSU does not offer.
With her experience in France, Bolesta recommends that students study abroad while they have the chance.
“College is a great time to do it,” she said. “You’re not tied down, there’s really no better time to go.”