As the fall semester ends at Mississippi State University, applications are opening up within the Office of Study Abroad.

The Office of Study Abroad works to broaden students’ global perspectives by offering hundreds of opportunities for students to study in over 80 nations, from France to Guatemala.

According to the Assistant Director of Study Abroad Annika Campbell, MSU students can study internationally through three different methods.

One option is through faculty-led programs, in which students take MSU courses taught by MSU faculty in a foreign country. Most last between three to five weeks, but some can be as short as ten days or as long as ten weeks.

While details vary from program to program, most students pay the program fees and live abroad with a group of peers while MSU faculty guide them through the experience. Last year, over 425 students participated in these programs.

Another way students can study abroad is through exchange programs. Students will either pay MSU tuition to study for a semester or pay an entire academic year at a partnered university abroad. Over 20 universities across the globe are available for tuition exchange programs.

An additional alternative for students is to study internationally through affiliated provider companies. Through six outside companies, the Office of Study Abroad can advise students to take one of the hundreds of different study abroad opportunities in places all over the world.

In these affiliate programs, students pay tuition to the provider company and are enrolled in an institution abroad. Students can also pursue internships through provider companies while earning course credit.

Regardless of a student's needs, Campbell said the Office of Study Abroad has opportunities for individuals to broaden their worldview while earning meaningful credit. Students can study abroad to obtain a minor or over summer or winter break to graduate early.

“We can find courses for every major, and it's also important to remember that you don't have to take courses in your major to study abroad. You can take some elective courses or humanities courses, things that could count towards your degree in other ways,” Campbell said.

The requirements of these opportunities vary, but almost all programs require a 2.5 minimum GPA. Other requirements are listed in program applications, which can be found on the Office of Study Abroad’s website.

The cost of these programs vary based on duration, location and the amount of credit received. According to Campbell, students who wish to study abroad can receive financial aid or pursue scholarship opportunities.

Students can check with their respective major departments to see if they offer any department-specific scholarships. Generally, scholarships range from $250 to $2,000 per student, but award amounts vary by college, department and funding. Along with department funding, all financial aid that a student receives can be used for affiliated study abroad programs.

Students can also seek national scholarships to study abroad. While there are listings of national scholarships on the Office of Study Abroad’s website, Campbell recommends students do some additional research on national scholarships.

Maud Barthes, a lecturer in the French department, will lead a study abroad program in Tours, France. Located two-and-a-half hours from Paris in the chateau-filled Loire Valley, students study French at a renowned language institute, while experiencing the vibrance of French culture through guided excursions around Tours and Paris.

Barthes said studying abroad can bring a new level of confidence and maturity to students. If students can manage it, a study abroad program is the time to see the world.

“You’re young, it's the time to be curious. It's time to put yourself out there. It's a time to get a little uncomfortable, and it's a time also to just try to confront your cliches and your stereotypes that you have towards the world,” Barthes said.

Kennedy Kellen, a junior majoring in psychology and minoring in French, attended the Tours trip with Barthes last summer. She lived with a host family that spoke almost exclusively French, toured castles, attended wine festivals and visited landmarks like the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Her weekends were left open, and Kellen took advantage of the low traveling cost within Europe to explore London and Belgium. Through the program, she obtained a French minor and is on track to graduate early. Kellen said students should become involved in studying abroad.

“Take that opportunity. It's the perfect time to go right now, I would say. And yeah, I feel like you would learn so much, not only about the history of a different country, but really about how you respond to different situations, being outside your comfort zone,” Kellen said.

Many summer program applications are already open, while others are set to open in the coming weeks. Application deadlines vary, but students considering a summer program should expect a deadline in February or March.

More information can be found through the Office of Study Abroad self-enrollment Canvas course, which can be found on its website. Students can also stop by the International Institute on the ground floor of Allen Hall for additional questions.

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