“Greece, I am falling in love with you already.”
That’s what student Izabella McPhee tweeted about her study-abroad experience this summer. She was one of at least 292 Cal State Fullerton students who participated in programs in other countries, ranging from cultural exploration to research projects.
Students attended a film camp in South Korea, studied communication design in Denmark, learned math in Thailand and took part in multimedia journalism in Spain. On an island off Puerto Rico’s mainland, students farmed, manned a radio station and contemplated their career goals by the ocean (see accompanying story).
“We’re excited about the many diverse programs abroad and away that CSUF is offering in just one summer,” said Jack Hobson, director of the Office of Study Abroad. “Representing over a dozen countries, these programs encompass a variety of disciplines and include faculty-led department programs, research groups, experiential and service learning trips, internships and also independent program options.”
Eight students nominated by faculty traveled to Baja California Sur to develop their leadership skills while they supported community development projects.
“Not too many science majors study abroad, but it’s so important to our education,” said Maddie Ybarra, a senior biological science major who was excited to see the plant life of the Sonoran Desert.
“I remember being a freshman and not really knowing what I wanted to study,” said Andrew Vo, who is now eyeing a career in public relations. “Putting myself out there, and studying abroad, really did help define what I wanted to do in the future.”
Faculty pull all the strings they can to help students afford such trips. The Baja trip was sponsored partly by University Extended Education, for example, with travel provided by Southwest Airlines. To finance other trips, students held food sales and set up GoFundMe pages.
The students come home changed, said John Gleaves, associate professor of kinesiology, who led a group of students to Athens, Greece, to explore the history of the Olympic Games in the olive…