Savannah Stanton studies Renewable Materials with a Spanish minor. She completed an internship in Concepción, Chile with the College of Forestry in the summer of 2016. Read on to learn what memories highlighted her experience:

The fire is alit and dancing with fervor, feeding off the energy that radiates throughout the small quarters of the living room. Biting air slips through with each greeting at the door, and bundled faces filter in, receiving me with warm embraces and cheek kisses. Countless dishes pass through the narrow breezeway from the kitchen to awaiting mouths as everyone claims a chair or spot on the couch, arcing out like amphitheater seating in front of the television. Our boxer Tara makes the rounds, weaving between bodies, wiggling with excitement and grinning from all the attention. Laughter and the embellishing of old stories fill the air like jumbled clouds—a clamoring cacophony for my untrained ears, so I focus more on visual cues to traverse this new terrain. The crinkle of crow’s feet, a deep belly chuckle, the uncanny resemblance between certain attendees.

Just two days prior I was thousands of miles away. Tonight my surroundings so foreign and yet, I know I am home. I know that my journey is just getting started, and this is the first page. Refocusing my attention outward, I see the hour is nearly upon us as my little sister ties the Chilean flag with care across the window for good luck, the TV is switched to the proper channel, and drinks are in hand. The Copa America final is here, and Chile plans to defend its title against Argentina! Viva Chile!

(Left to right) Younger host sister, host mom, Savannah

Last summer, I flew south for the winter and roosted in Concepción, Chile for a 10-week internship experience with Alto Horizonte, a forest products company that aligned with both my degree in Renewable Materials and minor in Spanish. My second evening in the country was spent cheering on the Chilean national team to its second consecutive victory in Copa America with my new host family—a family from another hemisphere that excitedly embraced my presence and residence for the next three months—and their relatives and friends. I had plunged into a vibrant, bustling culture, and as I walked from baggage claim to meet my family the night before, I had smiled with a hope that the current would carry me on a spectacular journey. Looking back on that first full evening in Chile, I find myself reminiscing the connections, laughs, learning experiences, and hardships that unfolded throughout the weeks to follow.

Weekend vacation to Parque Nacional de Huerquehue

From an academic standpoint, I of course learned a plethora of things: from in-country language skills and industry terminology (in both English and Spanish), to the company’s operations, how their sawmills process, how international commercial trade functions in purchasing markets across the globe, and Chilean business regulations, to name a few. However, what I’m reminded of over and over are the stories I heard and the conversations in which I partook. It was these experiences that continue to shape my interactions and understanding in nearly all facets of my professional and personal life. Stories are meant to be experienced, not just listened to. They provide a window into the lives of others, and good storytellers can reach into your soul and evoke wonder, reflection, and understanding.

For me, there was one coworker named Juan Carlos, and although introverted in every sense of the word, he became my ‘buddy’ at work, making sure that I always had someone to go out to lunch with, providing support and feedback on my projects for the company, and being generally interested in listening to my story and sharing about his country and culture in exchange. We spent hours each week discussing politics and government policies, historical events, literature and the arts, wars, science and astronomy, culture, favorite foods, languages, the minutiae behind certain slang phrases—you name it!  He was a wealth of knowledge and sparked discussion over controversial topics between our fellow coworkers. He and my host family were such key parts to my integration into Chilean society, and were influential in shaping my holistic understanding and empathy for Chile. This family, these friends, and that company will always be a cherished part of my life, where I was introduced to a different perspective on the world and how things work.

Knowing what I do now about Chile, I’ll leave you all with this quote, written one day on the wall of the café we frequented for lunch when at the office in Concepción:

“It is far more important what you think of yourself than what others may think of you.”

It reminded me that this international internship was a chance for me to see how far I could go, and that the only limits that are imposed upon us are the ones we decide to apply. Live limitless and stray from the path on occasion. Sometimes that’s the only way we can see how far we’ve come and what might lie ahead!

To learn more about the international opportunities available, click here!

Every day that I was there felt like a new adventure. I was in a world where I was learning new things daily, and by the end of my 9 months there I felt at home.

-Kristyn Decker (participated during the 2013-2014 academic year)

CAL0W7LDFew universities can contest the location of Bangor in Wales. It is situated on the North West Coast of Wales, just a ferry ride from Ireland. The Snowdonia mountain range stands tall as a backdrop in Bangor and is a short distance (9 kilometers) away. With the sea on one side and the mountains on the other, it is no surprise why students from over 80 different countries would choose to study at Bangor every year. Walking through the quaint little city of 12,000 residents, one can find that the University buildings and residences are a short walk from the city center, which includes two modern shopping complexes, and a blend of national and local shops. There are also plenty of restaurants, cafe-bars, and pubs. Bangor has a theatre, cinema, community swimming pool, an art gallery, museums, and clubs.

This program is offered for the full Academic Year. While at Bangor, you will be taking classes in English and live in the on-campus residence halls. Bangor University offers classes for a wide range of majors including animal sciences, finance, kinesiology and more!BangorTo view academic emphasis, deadlines, costs and more details on this program, click here!

Lyndsay Toll - OSU Spain F'12 (6)A common concern with going abroad is taking the classes required for a specific major or minor. Depending on the student’s circumstances and what their academic adviser suggests, it is definitely possible to take courses abroad that count as major/minor requirements and Baccore.

To help in this process, the Office of Global Opportunities has put together curriculum integrations  for many of the majors offered at OSU. These documents give suggestions of study abroad program that line up with courses needed for certain majors. They also list the steps to planning a successful study abroad trip or international internship.

The key to getting specific classes while abroad is to start early, do your research and communicate frequently with your academic and study abroad advisers.

Jacobi_Sarah_Senegal_FoodWhen first sifting through the programs offered, there is a helpful tool on the right side of the screen that will allow you to narrow your search to programs that have a specific academic emphasis. This does not guarantee that all classes needed for that major will be offered, but it is a useful initial check point.

Some international universities have a list of courses that are available to study abroad students. To view these, go to the international university’s website and explore the International Students section.

If you have any questions on your search to find the right program for you, feel free to contact the OSU GO office at intl.ambassador@oregonstate.edu. 

Santilli_Tony_Nepal_DhawalgiriMt.While it is true that every program is unique in its location, housing, class-experience and price tag, study abroad programs typically fall into one of three main categories: Exchange, Program Provider and Faculty-Led Programs. Finding which type of program is best for you is a great starting point in your study abroad preparations.

An Exchange Program is when a student from OSU switches places with a student from an international university. While abroad, the OSU student will pay their tuition and fees directly to OSU, exactly as if he/she was staying on campus for that term.  Room and board payments will be made to the international university, and housing accommodations vary from program to program. Exchanges are often more hands-off than other programs, leaving it up to the student to plan excursions and choose course-work. Lastly, Exchanges typically have earlier application deadlines than other study abroad programs and are more competitive.

Marek_Charlene_MilanItaly_TickledNext are Program Provider study abroad experiences. OSU’s Office of Global Opportunities partners with national organizations to send students abroad. Examples of program providers are API, SAS, SIT, GEO, IFSA-Butler and CIEE. Students who participate in these programs pay all tuition and room and board fees directly to the program provider. Each program provider has specific scholarships that can help reduce the cost of participating. Often, these programs will provide excursions to neighboring cities or areas.

Lastly, Faculty-Led Programs are programs that range from two to ten weeks that are designed and executed by an OSU faculty member. The focus of these experiences varies greatly from program to program, and they can be major or research specific. Often, there are classes or workshops that students are required to attend to prepare for the experience. All tuition and fees are paid directly to OSU. For more information on a specific program, contact the faculty lead.Newhouse_Mindy_Italy_Untitled (3)If you have any questions about the different types of programs, don’t hesitate to contact a Student Ambassador at intl.ambassador@oregonstate.edu.

There is no doubt that there is a stereotype that all study abroad programs cost an outrageous amount of money to participate in. However, many students are surprised to hear that studying abroad can be financially similar to a term at Oregon State University. Studying or doing an internship abroad doesn’t have to be an expensive venture, and where you go can dramatically impact the cost. Here are a few steps to help you plan for an affordable journey of a lifetime!

First, you should decide why you want to go abroad. Is it to explore a new culture? Improve language-proficiency? Gain professional experience? Once you have goals clearly laid out for you trip, you can begin looking through programs that fit your needs. Not all programs are financially equal, and you can reduce the cost by picking a certain region or type of program. For example, on exchange programs, where you trade places with a student at the foreign university, you pay the same tuition rate as you would if you stayed at OSU.

Next, you should begin to navigate the scholarships webpicture (3)page to find ones that you qualify for. The Office of Global Opportunities offers over 30 scholarships for study abroad and international internship participants. Although some of the awards are based on financial need, there are some that don’t consider this. Career services in Kerr Administration is a great resource to help you write scholarship application essays or create a resume.

Another great resource is the financial aid office. You should begin to explore what is offered in terms of grants and loans. It is possible to increase the maximum loan amount if your study abroad program increases the cost of attending OSU significantly. Did you know that most scholarships through OSU and outside organizations can apply directly to your abroad program? Check with your scholarship provider or the financial aid office to see if your scholarship will help you go abroad.

On the Office of Global Opportunities site, there is a budget calculator that allows you to input all of the costs of going abroad (plane ticket, tuition, meals etc.) and calculates the total cost of the program. This tool is useful in comparing different programs. Ben-Spearing-CCF-F13If you have any questions on your search to find the right program for you, feel free to contact the OSU GO office at intl.ambassador@oregonstate.edu.

Danita Dahl is majoring in Animal Sciences through the College of Agricultural Sciences. To experience research in the field, she traveled to one of the remote places on Earth, Antarctica! This OSU faculty-led program combined in-class instruction, online activities, field activities and assignments to learn more about this interesting place. To read Part 1 of her entry, click here!

Drawing_PenguinsMany of us stayed up to see the promised first ice of the journey, and it was worth the wait.  The first glimpses of frozen land and ice was not only a great feeling of being found within the expanse of ocean, but also the realization that we were on the cusp of our achievement of a goal to get to the remotest place on Earth.  The next morning we awoke to the grandiose Lemaire Channel and all stood on the bow and watched as the captain navigated the narrow waters.  Between the ice patches I saw the profoundly deep blue water reflecting the snow-capped cliffs and I could feel the truly untouched beauty and danger of the Antarctic.  Standing on the bow, there was a charged feeling running through my body – we were so close now that we would be at our first landing site within the next couple of hours.

The bird watching shift just after leaving the bow seemed like a blur.  We had stopped seeing as many birds circling the vessel and more penguins in the water and on floating ice.  Right after breakfast I ran to my room, gathered my gear, and was the first down to the gangway –20 minutes early.  Entering the zodiac I was reminded of the younger brother from the movie ‘A Christmas Story’ since I and everyone around me were so bundled up it was slightly difficult to sit down.  Once off the vessel I wasted no time readjusting my gear as I wanted to be one of the first up to the untouched areas around the penguin colony.  I, however, was rapidly slowed since every step I took I sunk into the snow up to my knee.  As soon as I got up to the penguins I forgot about watching them and started stripping layers.  After I felt as if I had broken through a high fever I took a moment to remember where I was and enjoyed watching the penguins waddling purposefully on their “penguin highways” as other passengers passed my location in the search for a larger group of penguins further into the excursion site.

Penguin_RaceFor the next few days we continued our journey in much of the same manner with two excursions a day which allowed enough time for us to watch the comedy of the penguin behaviors, sleepy seals, and some quiet solitary contemplation among the wilderness and ice.  As we continued our observations we found that Gentoo penguins ruled the area and the circling pelagic birds were getting harder to find.  We camped in the Neumayer Channel, built a snow penguin, acted like tourists with the penguins similar to locals watching our hilarious absurdities, and ended up waking up to strong winds making packing up an adventure in itself.  On Christmas day I took the polar plunge with a few of my new friends I had made on this journey.  The cold did not hit me right away, but rather seemed to wait and hit me all at once like a thousand needles jabbing into my extremities.  Looking back, I regret nothing.

When we finally calculated all of our data for the research paper the seemingly noticeable trend was very unnoticeable on paper which led to a lot of “insignificant trends” in our final evaluation.  The classroom experience prior to the trip related greatly to both the landscape, ice, and wildlife as well as the on board lectures.  It gave a great base knowledge so that we could understand the magnitude of what we witnessed along our journey.  In the end, Antarctica is truly a remote and untouched gem of the world and I am proud to state that I am an ambassador in keeping it that way and hope to inspire others to do the same.Penguins

To learn more about international opportunities at OSU, click here!

Danita Dahl is majoring in Animal Sciences through the College of Agricultural Sciences. To experience research in the field, she traveled to one of the remote places on Earth, Antarctica! This OSU faculty-led program combined in-class instruction, online activities, field activities and assignments to learn more about this interesting place. Read on to experience what it is like being Antarctica! 

FaceAntarctica is a vast continent with untamed beauty and remoteness that can’t help but to have an effect on its visitors.  The reasons I signed up for this adventure were two-fold: I wanted to travel to a place like I had never been before and I wanted to see what it was like to conduct research in the field under Fish & Wildlife.  During my journey I was able to connect the class experiences with my field experiences, but now that I have been back for two weeks, I still feel that I have not fully realized Antarctica’s personal effect on me.  It is a location that truly emphasizes how small we are in the world and yet how connected everything is.

Our last stop on the South American continent was at the current most southern city in the world, Ushuaia.  I say the most current because our guide in the area noted that there is an island just off the coast of this pleasant city that is becoming more populated over the years and may end up taking its title.  The day we departed Ushuaia the temperature was 7ºC.  It was cooler than Buenos Aires where we had come from, but was still nice weather since it was summer in the southern hemisphere in December.  Many of the members of our group noted the beach dresses and swimming suits in the shop windows and the fact that this did not reflect the local’s attire as they were all wearing jackets and long pants.

As we departed the port aboard the ship, I saw seagulls and during dinner we noted a large gathering of shag.  We had heard a lot in the classroom lectures about the Drake Passage that we would be going through around midnight that night.  Many of the researchers who had spoken to us during that time had stated that the Drake is not too bad until it is.  This is because this passage is located between Cape Horn and the northern tip of Antarctica where the Southern Ocean’s movement, previously unimpeded, must bottleneck through this narrow and relatively shallow waterway.  Even at dinner we were unsure what was truly waiting for us ahead.  Although we had been told by the captain that it should not be too rough, it did not put everyone at ease and much of the first conversations on the vessel were about possible sea sickness and the precautionary measures people had taken to dampen any effects of the new sensations of being on the water.

Much of these first days reminded me of summer camp since they were packed full of lectures, equipment hand out and fitting, safety drills, and environmental protocol briefings.  The vessel, the Academik Ioffe, carried approximately 100 passengers and crew.  Our group consisted of thirty of those individuals and we quickly broke into smaller groups in order to get to know each other easier – not on purpose of course, but this is what I have found happens when you are traveling in a large group.  Throughout the trip people transferred from group to group and we ended up getting to know each other pretty well.

On the first day that we awoke on the vessel we started our research objectives – which for us meant 15 minute shifts of bird watching from the bridge deck that were scheduled just prior to the meals.  Our journey through the Drake Passage had turned out quite mild and our weather was truly spectacular, although windy, with 4ºC air temperature and a long day in store starting with sunrise at 4:30 am and sunset not until 10:10 pm.  My group started the shifts that morning and we encountered many more species of birds than we had seen closer to shore.  We noted blue petrels, wandering albatross, cape petrels, and black-browed albatross in our log.  This change in diversity did not surprise me since in class we learned that you often see more types of pelagic seabirds further from the coastlines.  This also looked like a good start to our project since if this trend extended our full journey southward it would prove our hypothesis.Landscape

Many of us chose to spend any free moment outside admiring the vastness and trying to get the first glimpses of unique birds, any whales, or ice that was to be seen.  I found myself in awe of the flight patterns of the albatross – although we had learned of these magnificent birds in class you do not get the true value of the size or grace of these animals until you are close up in their environment.  This is also the time that I truly appreciated the fact that this enormous continent of Antarctica is out there and that over 90% of the world’s population of almost 7 billion people would never see it and never get to feel the rolling waves from horizon to horizon seemingly dropping off the end of the world itself.  I imagined being one of the first explorers and realized, quite clearly, why they might have assumed that the world was flat with an image of this water flowing furiously downward forming an implausibly large waterfall into nothingness.

That night, making good time at 12 knots, we crossed the Antarctic convergence, which is a climatic boundary between the colder water with lower salinity surrounding the continent and the contrasting waters north of the convergence.  This quick change provides a bounty of nutrients and is where the northern and southern foraging seabirds overlap.  We learned in class that this area provides significant support to the Southern Ocean ecosystems through an up welling of deeper water as well as the temperature regulation of the oceans as a whole.  This transition was quite noticeable to the passengers of the ship since the temperature at wake up was hovering around -1ºC.  However, this was alleviated with the lack of 12 m/s winds which had been replaced with mere 9 m/s gusts.

During my shift, just before lunch this day, was an eventful one.  We were the first to spot penguins!  They were porposing chinstraps off the port bow of the ship which occasionally stopped to preen themselves seemingly oblivious to the ship just behind them until we were almost on top of each other.  This day, December 20th, we also got the pleasure of witnessing humpback whales in action.  These two events made this day special to me since I and the other passengers became members of an exclusive few who get these memories forever.  The field work was conveying what seemed like a good trend of continuing progression of the seabird diversity with today showing the greatest diversity seen on the trip thus far.  This night it was difficult to sleep because we knew what that night and the following day would bring us – the first sightings of sea ice and the first steps onto land in the Antarctic!

To learn more about international opportunities at OSU, click here!