While many will be spending their spring break at home, Ferris business administration sophomore Renae Schretter will be in Peru soaking up the culture.
For the first time, Ferris is offering a chance for students to study abroad in Peru over spring break. While there, students will be traveling to Lima, Iquitos and Cusco.
Schretter is looking forward to being able to travel to Peru, even though it wasn’t her original destination. A group of students were originally going to study abroad in China, however due to the Coronavirus scare that is occurring in China, the trip was canceled and many took the chance to travel to Peru to not abandon an opportunity to study abroad. Regardless of destination, Schretter is still glad to be able to study in another country.
“I’m super excited, we have a lot of cool stuff that we’re going to check out in Peru so I think I’m just as excited as if we were going to China.” Schretter said.
Aside from Peru, Ferris is partnered with many schools across the world. Ferris works with these schools to exchange students and allow them to study abroad anywhere from a semester to a full year. Ferris currently has partner schools in Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea and Spain.
Some students, however, might not want to spend a semester or year abroad. Luckily for them Ferris offers short-term summer programs as well. They offer one program in South Korea with a partner university that lasts three to ten weeks, and also have faculty-led programs that last two to four weeks. The locations vary every year, but past locations have included Costa Rica, El Salvador, China, Haiti, Italy, Martinique and Scotland.
If none of these options work with what a student may have in mind, the Office of International Education can also help students work with affiliate programs, although these tend to be more expensive.
The Office of International Education is very hands-on and works to help students map out their road to studying abroad. To start off, students attend three workshops so they can begin to learn about the different options that are available, and what a student can gain from studying abroad.
Education abroad coordinator at the Office of International Education, Megan Hauser-Tran, leads these workshops and cannot express enough how valuable the studying abroad experience is, and the ways many students understand what she means when they return from their travels.
“I tell students about all the benefits: that you can learn a language, you can challenge yourself, you can learn more about who you are and where you’re from when you’re not being there anymore,” Hauser-Tran said. “And you can also learn about other cultures and other ways of thinking.”
As the workshops progress, students learn more specific details and begin planning how to budget the trip and the application process in order to study abroad. After all three sessions students receive a $30 voucher for travel health insurance while abroad.
Ferris pre-pharmacy freshman DeeDee Wesley hopes to be able to study abroad in Costa Rica.
“My family is Dominican and I was about eight when I came here,” Wesley said. “So that’s really the only experience outside of the U.S. that I’ve had, and my sister always encouraged me to do it, so I wanted to do it for the new experiences. And also for the culture — you get a different understanding of how people live and adapt.”
Ferris social studies education freshman Rosy Roa believes that studying abroad could give her the opportunity to familiarize herself to different cultures and potentially open a door for her if she wants to teach in foreign countries. She hopes to start this journey by traveling to South Korea.
Hauser-Tran also expressed that although studying abroad may seem intimidating, students are not alone in this process. Everyone in the Office of International Education is available to help with questions and to look into anything a student may need.
“You are considering going to a new place, you’re considering having an experience unlike anything you might have had before, and it might sound like a lot of work, having to apply and find scholarships, but my best advice is to, just go for it.” Hauser-Tran said. “Put in the effort and do it because it will pay off enormously.”
If anyone is interested in studying abroad, students can reach out directly and contact Megan Hauser-Tran at MeganHauserTran@nullferris.edu. They can also attend one of the weekly workshops that are held 1 p.m. every Friday in IRC 104.