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Eagle Experiences and Advice!

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Advice From Students
Hear from previous students and find out what to know before you go.
Spring Break 2019My name is Rebecca Pettingill, I am a senior at Eastern Washington University. I am pursuing a Bachelor’s in journalism with a minor in history. I chose history to support my major because I believe the more I know and understand about the world, the better I am equipped to share it with others and make informed decisions. Studying abroad also fits that reason. Studying abroad allows me to experience firsthand other cultures and knowledge that can broaden my understanding of the world and its history. That’s why I jumped on the Spring 2019 faculty-led trip to London and Paris.
The faculty led study abroad course I took was History 406: Darwin and His Discontents. I chose this course because it applied to my minor and because it interested me more than the psychology or literature options. History 406 taught me all about who and what set the precedent for Charles Darwin and how his theory of evolution changed the world. Essentially it was a normal class except the last week of class and the week of spring break, I was abroad with my teacher and some of my other classmates. The one assignment I had while on the trip was to keep a journal of what I learned and saw each day.
I chose a faculty-led program because I like the convenience of not only having staff to support me but to have everything pre-set. All I had to do was show up. While in each city I got to experience the uniqueness of each culture and step out of my comfort zone. I got to see the Down House which was Charles Darwin’s home. I got to explore the place I had learned so much about in class. It brought my learning to life. Being a journalism major, studying abroad helped me to practice the skills I learned at EWU. I got to see not only the top tourist attractions but some of the political issues in those countries as well; Brexit and the Yellow Vest Protests. Issues exist outside of our corner of the world and sometimes we need to travel to be able to open our eyes to what is going on in the rest of the world. See more about my trip at: https://ewustudyabroad.wordpress.com

 

The Transformational Experiences of Study Abroad Programs at EWU

Submitted by Dr. Torres Garcia, EWU McNair Director

Dr. Torres GarciaIt has been a pleasure to meet remarkable students at Eastern Washington University (EWU) whose academic goals and aspirations are enriched and transformed into realities and who have left their mark at EWU while completing their undergraduate studies. Ms. Amy Núñez is one of these students who came from Yakima, WA to EWU. She affirmed to have benefited from different EWU programs, resources, and educational experiences as she reached her academic goal-- to be a superintended. Now, Ms. Núñez is hoping to become a faculty member at a higher education institution. She credits the Chicano Studies, the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Program, her participation in MEChA and Ballet Folklorico, and the great opportunity to travel outside the US in an EWU study-abroad program to Cuba (EWU Goes to Cuba!) for transforming her life. It is cliché to mention that it takes a village to raise a student, but it does. It all begins with this impactful experience to travel abroad. “Being able to travel abroad to Cuba along with six other students and four professors has been the most memorable experience during my time at EWU," Ms. Núñez shared.

It was December 2012, when Ms. Núñez took her first trip outside the U.S. in an EWU School of Global Learning (SGL) Faculty-Led Program and visited Cuba to study their education system. According to Ms. Núñez, “as first-generation, low-income student I would never imagine the possibility of traveling abroad nevertheless going to Cuba. This trip was filled with many unforgettable experiences that I will cherish for a lifetime, including my first time traveling with a group of students to conduct research, the first time walking on the beach, exploring a different culture, hiking in the mountains, visiting an organic farm, and going to a professional baseball game."

In this quote, it is apparent the significant impact this study abroad had on Ms. Núñez; these are among the many benefits student who participate in the EWU SGL are expected to gain from participating in its programs. Among the many objectives of SGL is to increase the opportunities for students to grow and provide meaningful connections with other as they travel around the world that can assist students like Ms. Núñez develop social and professional skills that will assist her career. Approximately 100 students travel abroad each year through SGL at EWU. The following quote by Ms. Núñez illustrate the significance of the relationships she was able to develop with faculty and her peers. “One of the most rewarding experiencing was the opportunity to form lifelong friendships with the students on the trip and getting to know our professors at a more personal level outside the university. We were very fortunate to have Dr. Joseph Lenti, Dr. Christina Torres García, Dr. Martin Meráz García, and Dr. Robert Dean join us on this journey to share their expertise, guide us through our research, and most importantly I appreciated the amount of work they put into organizing this trip. Ms. Núñez participation in this EWU SGL Faculty-Led Program was shared with KYRS Thin Air Community Radio and the Spokane Community through public forums.

As a faculty assisting on leading a study abroad program, this experience can be transformational for faculty in many ways as well. For example, to witness the remarkable growth in students’ self-confidence and self-efficacy, to build strong relationships with faculty across discipline, and connect class discussion on study abroad experiences are among few benefits a faculty can received from such experience. The SGL study abroad programs are not just transforming the lives of EWU students but having ripple effects in our faculty and EWU community as a whole. Ms. Núñez’ story is similar to many other students we currently serve and we can begin transform their lives and supporting them to embark in a study abroad experience!
 
Kohl- Wide shot of FountainCourt- Winter 2014- CRCosta Rica