The University of Idaho held a study abroad fair Wednesday to show students the opportunities for international experience.
More than 370 universities in 69 countries are affiliated with UI to provide global learning. On average, 15 percent of graduates have studied abroad.
“The world is the best education,” said Justin Barnes, a UI professor. “It’s important for students to get outside of their comfort zone and have meaningful experiences with different countries, cultures and people.”
Barnes taught a storytelling abroad course last summer with UI students in Amsterdam, Prague, Munich and Berlin.
“As an advertising and Spanish major, I could not have thought of a better way to fully experience my college career than making the decision to study abroad,” said Maria Meza, a UI student. “This experience was unlike anything I will ever experience again and I highly recommend it,” Meza said.
Meza said her host city, San Sebastian, Spain, quickly became her home and holds a huge part of her heart. UI student Nikaya Johnson said her favorite experience from her semester abroad was sleeping in tents in the middle of the Sahara Desert.
“I learned more than I thought I ever would from our Nomad friends who spent their whole lives as ‘students of the desert,’” Johnson said.
Johnson said the sand was their home and they were the most content, self-aware and logical people she ever met.
“A couple hours with these people and my perspective was changed for my entire life,” Johnson said.
Johnson said she finds herself repeating things they mentioned to her so that she can enjoy every moment and be content with where she is at.
“It’s really crazy to think how fortunate we are to have all of the ‘things’ we own and a lot of times we aren’t content,” Johnson said. “These people may have nothing, but I think they may be the happiest people in the world.”
UI student Emmy Runge said studying abroad was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. She said she made so many incredible friends, traveled to some of the most amazing countries throughout Europe and had the time of her life.
“I miss my home in Spain so much already and I can’t wait for the day I get to go back and visit,” Runge said. “If you’re a student and you have the opportunity to study somewhere, do it.”
Runge said students who choose to spend time abroad would not regret the decision.
“My experience in Ghana and Togo challenged me to become a more globalized, understanding and curious individual,” said Maddie Jacobson, a UI student.
Sierra Rothermich can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @SKRothermich