T-Birds Taking Flight Worldwide

Fifty-eight. That is the number of schools that Southern Utah University Students are able to choose from when deciding where to study abroad.

During the 2017-2018 year, 460 SUU students traveled abroad. Since then, students have been traveling all over the world for both semester exchanges and short-term study abroad trips.

For Tori Jensen, the desire to study abroad began with her passion of K-Pop bands and South Korean culture.

“Listening to that music and learning about those groups and those artists allowed me to learn about Korean culture. I wanted to start learning the Korean language and [about] Korean food. I just really wanted to go to Korea,” explained Jensen.

Jensen found her opportunity to go to Korea through SUU’s University Exchange Program. What surprised Jensen the most about going abroad was the amount of financial support that she was able to receive.

Students who go on a semester exchange are responsible for paying the same tuition and student fees that they would normally pay at SUU. Additionally, any scholarships or financial aid that students normally receive can apply for student’s time abroad.

The study abroad programs also have scholarships available specifically for students to go abroad. Jensen was able to receive the 1+1+$2,000 Scholarship, which allows students to go with a friend and each receive $1000 towards their trip.

Other scholarships are available through SUU for up to $1000 each.

By going abroad, Jensen was able to grow more comfortable with traveling by herself. When not in classes she was able to travel using public transportation such as subways and buses. She was able to get anywhere she wanted and found satisfaction in going to concerts or walking through the parks around Seoul.

Jensen also found it interesting to see how her learning changed while she was in Korea.

“It made me appreciate American university. Korean university was a different style of going through school,” Jensen said. “I didn’t have a whole lot of homework, there was more of a focus toward tests and essays. It wasn’t bad, but it made me appreciate how we do school [in the U.S.]”

To help with this change in structure and culture, Jensen recommended thinking through where you want to go and learning about the culture before traveling.

Jensen emphasized pushing beyond your comfort zone when traveling abroad by speaking to local students.

The opportunity to work as an English tutor while studying abroad allowed her to get more out of the experience.

“I think studying abroad is something everyone should do, but… it’s kind of a habit to stick with the other exchange students. Don’t just stay with the exchange students.”

Each trip abroad affects and changes students at SUU differently. For Jensen, traveling allowed her to celebrate a culture that she has grown to love.

“Just being in Korea was so cool. Studying abroad opens your mind to the world. Just being able to live in another country just for a short amount of time… it’s just a good opportunity.”

Students interested in stepping out of the United States to study for a semester abroad should visit the Office of Learning Abroad in the Sharwan Smith Student Center.

Story by Alex Greenwell
Photography Courtesy of Tori Jensen