Exploring the world

Ferris students experience foreign cultures and gain skills

As flowers bloom and stressful finals are graded, some Ferris students pack their bags to gain new skills studying abroad and interning through international organizations.

For many students, internships are met with excitement as classroom learning is combined with job experience. Most college programs require the completion of an internship before graduation and some students choose to fulfill this requirement during the summer months.

Ferris Spanish junior Jillian Weemaes is one such student. She will be living with two different host families as she interns in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador, assisting an English teacher with her classes and helping out around the school.

“I want to teach English as a Second Language and work with immigrants and refugees as my career. The benefits of an international internship are immense. For one I get to use, practice, and improve my Spanish for two months. I also get to be immersed in the Ecuadorian culture, learning from them as they learn from me. I get to assist and teach my own English classes,” said Weemaes. “I will not be paid for my work but the benefits outweigh any kind of monetary benefit in my book.” Studying abroad is another venture in which students can experience other cultures all over the world. This summer, Ferris is offering the opportunity for students to take classes in different countries such as France, El Salvador, Italy, Spain, Haiti, Scotland, Russia, Sweden and Costa Rica.

A student hoping to gain memorable life experiences is Ferris social work junior Becca Marchetti. She will be traveling to Italy for two weeks to immerse herself in the culture and learn more about the language there. Her main objective is to eventually work internationally through social work.

“The process was super easy. I just sent my professor, who is the coordinator of the program, an email and then filled out a paper application. What I’m looking most forward to is traveling overseas for the first time and being in a new place with all of the historical sites we’re going to visit.” said Marchetti. “I’m going with two of my sorority sisters so I have them to talk to about what to bring and what not to bring. Also, the professors going with us have been really helpful and we have meetings every so often to talk about details.”

The shock of traveling into a foreign country can leave some students struggling to adjust to their environment. Short-term programs led by faculty usually range from two to four weeks, and you can earn three to six credits. These programs are academic classes led by professors who conduct the international program.

Ferris undecided sophomore Adam Thompson has traveled to Mexico City, Mexico, before, but is excited to begin his journey in Costa Rica. With this opportunity, Thompson hopes to broaden his understanding of the Spanish language.

“While I am there I will be living with a host family that does not speak any English and will be taking two classes that pertain to Latin American culture. It’s certainly going to be interesting and a huge change from Big Rapids. Speaking all in Spanish will be a shock for me because that is something that I don’t have to do currently. We’ll see what happens.”

Finding a study abroad program that suits a student’s academic needs can be a difficult process, especially if you have no idea where to begin. To find more information about potential study abroad programs at Ferris, you can email international@ferris.edu to talk with faculty members involved in the process.

To learn more about internships offered at Ferris, contact your internship coordinator within your college.