Sep 192006
 
Authors: Skylar Rick The Rocky Mountain Collegian

When Sara Love arrived in Grenoble, France, in 2004, she had to beg to get a roof over her head.

“I got there with no place to live,” Love said.

Although the start of Love’s time studying abroad was rocky, the overall experience left her wanting more.

“I loved my semester in France so much that I wanted to find a way to go back,” said Love, who graduated the semester after she returned. “So I went back to the middle of nowhere in France and was a T.A. (teaching assistant) teaching English.”

Love and four other CSU students created their own study abroad program rather than sign up for a sponsored one.

The experiences vary.

Jenna Kirchgasler, a senior business and French major, stayed with a nine-member host family.

Although initially nervous about living with a family of strangers, Kirchgasler found it to be a valuable experience.

“My host family didn’t speak any English at all, so it really improved my French,” she said. “It is better to immerse yourself in the culture.”

Love’s and Kirchgasler’s stories are just two of scores of CSU students who have participated in the study abroad program, which is set to hold an informational meeting from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom.

Most study abroad program fees range from $7,000 to $10,000 a semester, although they vary depending on the program sponsor.

Regular CSU tuition is waived for the time spent abroad, but students still pay approximately $400 in fees.

“The amount is still pretty close to regular fees, but every situation is different,” said Robin Mueller, study abroad coordinator. “(The student) doesn’t pay CSU that semester, they pay what that specific program costs.”

Costs can include expenses from tuition, housing, health insurance, excursions and airfare.

Most often, students will have to buy their own plane ticket, Mueller said.

Finances and adventure aside, Mueller said there are other draws as well.

“(Studying abroad) is a good way to get a different perspective on how majors are used in another part of the world,” she said.

Students can also choose what language to take classes in. Choices include English, the native language of the country they are traveling to, or a mixture, depending on the program or college chosen.

Love chose to take her classes in French, which helped her to not only improve her “structured” language, but get a taste of the vernacular as well.

“When you’re (studying a language) at CSU, you focus on grammar,” she said. “In France, people are speaking in expressions.”

One notable difference Love noticed between classes at the University of Grenoble and those at CSU was the amount, or lack thereof, of books she was required to buy.

“They were really big on photo copies,” she said. “When you had a reading assignment they had copies or whatever you would need for you.”

CSU designed programs are a bit more structured than the semester Love and Kirchgasler experienced, but for some, that is part of the fun.

With recent turmoil in the Middle East, however, there are some restrictions placed on where exactly a student can go.

Countries with a travel warning to Americans, like Iraq, are not currently part of the travel abroad program.

Love is set to go abroad again in October to the University of Geneva where she is planning on getting her master’s degree in translation.

“Students get to intimately know the culture,” Mueller said.

“They get time to have conversations with people about

perspectives and politics and experience a much richer and deeper connection to the country.”

Staff writer Skylar Rick can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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For more information visit www.studyabroad.colostate.edu or call 491-5917. Also, an informational meeting is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom.

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