The Honors College offers opportunities for students to study all across the world, and third-year honors microbiology student Andrea Perez aims to study in as many places as she can during her college career.
Growing up in Ontario, Oregon, Andrea always aspired to attend college and explore the world outside her rural town. After visiting Oregon State University during high school, she knew it was a perfect place for her. She embraces the experiential learning opportunities the Honors College provides, such as Dean and Friends lunches, interesting colloquia such as Science, Ethics & Star Trek and Technological Advancements, and the ability to expand her learning by traveling to new places. When Andrea first arrived at Oregon State, she had her heart set on the sciences, but she also had a strong curiosity about other fields, languages and cultures, and she was interested in connecting science and language studies. She now has a minor in Asian languages, and she is starting to learn Chinese, which will be her fifth language.
Through the Gilman Scholarship Program, which provides funding for students with financial constraints to study or intern abroad, Andrea spent a year studying in Mexico. It was especially meaningful for Andrea to travel to where her parents were born and embrace learning about microbiology in Spanish. Through this experience, she appreciated seeing how classes are structured in different countries. After returning from Mexico, Andrea spent a summer in South Korea studying at Yonsei University in Seoul.
These two study abroad experiences were vastly different. While her time in Mexico allowed her to reconnect with her culture through a language she spoke well, in South Korea she experienced a new country with a language and culture she was less familiar with. She found that she enjoyed the challenge of learning Korean and interacting with new people. Andrea hopes to study abroad again and is currently applying for a Critical Language Scholarship, which provides funding for foreign language instruction and cultural enrichment during the summer. This time, she hopes to study at Akita University in Japan.
Andrea credits the advisors in the Honors College and the National and Global Scholarships Advising Office with helping her find the resources that have allowed her to have meaningful study abroad experiences. She advises other students interested in learning languages and studying abroad to “keep going, keep applying because one day you will get that opportunity to go to Japan or to study abroad in France or get that internship.” Through these global opportunities, Andrea has grown as a student and scholar and is proud of her accomplishments as a first-generation student.
By Katelyn Maloney, Honors College student writer