Avelino Solomon was a recipient of several OSU and outside scholarships for his experience through the College of Business in Thailand
Avelino Solomon was a recipient of several OSU and outside scholarships for his experience through the College of Business in Thailand

Education Abroad and Funding: What you should know!

So you think going abroad would be cool, but there’s no way you can afford it? Before you make that decision, be sure to check out the facts!

Fact one: What’s the bottom line?

How much will your time abroad cost? You can get a budget estimate through your program provider online and/or from your study abroad advisor! Be sure that budget includes big things like flight and insurance as well as day-to-day expenses like local transportation and laundry.

Now you have a final cost.  If this is the program and location for you, let’s look at the other facts.  But if it’s more than you want to pay, how about looking at other options? Is there a cheaper program in the same country, or another country that would work?

Fact two: Financial aid can help!

Because you are an OSU student going on an approved OSU program, you will be eligible for financial aid just as you would here on campus – with one key difference. We’ll pass your study abroad budget on to the Financial Aid office. If your program costs more than regular OSU attendance, and you haven’t already maxed out your aid, they can offer you options to help meet the cost!

But you can’t get financial aid unless you file a FAFSA. So make sure to file it as early as possible to get the ball rolling. And don’t fear loans. If you’re committed to making it happen, have a plan in place…and if you happen to get scholarships to replace the loans, so much the better! And that brings us to our final fact.

Fact three: Scholarships are out there.

There are scholarships available from a variety of sources here at OSU, as well as private organizations, and even the federal government! These range greatly – from $500 to up to $20,000. As you can imagine, some of these scholarships are highly competitive.

In general, there are more scholarships available to students who can demonstrate severe financial need, those in non-traditional study abroad majors (such as science or engineering), and/or those going to non-traditional countries (outside of Western Europe and Australia). By going off the beaten path, you may be able to find less expensive opportunities with more scholarship money available. In addition, many scholarships or program fee reductions are available for students who choose to stay for an academic year versus a term/semester.

Many scholarship deadlines will come up around 4-6 months before you go abroad, but some are more than a year in advance. Be sure to start looking early!

Fact four:  It’s worth it!

An experience abroad is an investment in yourself, as well as your future.  You can gain wonderful personal and professional skills by studying or interning abroad (cross-cultural communication, independence, adaptation, creative problem-solving, self-confidence, and more!).  Beyond these specific skills, an experience abroad is truly a life-changing experience.  Do it – it’s worth it!

We are pleased to announce an exciting International Education Week!

International Education Week is observed across the United States and around the world each November, the week before the US Thanksgiving holiday. This celebration was founded in 2000 as a joint initiative of the US Department of State and the US Department of Education in their efforts to promote programs that prepare US Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

Here at OSU, we have nearly 20 events happening to celebrate this important occasion.  The week kicks off with an special keynote speech from OSU’s own International Service Award recipient and Anthropology professor, Sunil Khanna.  Sunil will be speaking on the topic of “Global Encounters: What is it like to live and learn in the unfamiliar” on Monday at 2pm in MU 206.

We continue that day and throughout the week with special information sessions on study abroad opportunities:

  • in specific countries like Iceland or Antarctica (& warmer places too!);
  • at specific times of year, like summer study abroad;
  • or for specific majors, like studying engineering abroad!

We’ll also hold workshops on international careers, study abroad scholarships, and the International Degree.

We’re also proud to celebrate the international atmosphere we have right here on campus!  The department of Foreign Languages and Literatures will host a film festival every night of the week in Owen Hall.  INTO OSU will feature an open house & fair on Tuesday evening in the newly renovated Heckert Lodge.  University Housing and Dining will be cooking up a “Taste of the Mediterranean” at Marketplace West on Wednesday evening.  There’ll even be a Dance Party with DJ Arndt Peltner of Radio Goethe at Club Escape that night!

No matter what your tastes, we’ve got something for everyone.  Check out our schedule – we look forward to celebrating with you!

Photo courtesy of Tor Benson
Photo courtesy of Tor Benson

Tor Benson has 21 things to love about inimitable Iceland.  OSU students can find their own this summer by attending the Iceland: Civilization and Sustainability program.

1)    Every McDonalds in Iceland closed

2)    Highest number of books published and sold per capita — with one in ten Icelanders writing a book in their lifetime.

3)    21 HOURS of daylight in Reykjavik and 23 in northern Iceland on the

longest day of the year.

4)    Northern Lights (aurora borealis )-in the winter

5)    Blue Lagoon

6)    Three Miss World titleholders call Iceland home

7)    Two multi-time winners of “World’s Strongest Man”

8)    All Icelanders speak Icelandic, Danish, and English fluently

9)    According The Human Development Index Iceland is the most gender-equal country in the world

10)   No standing army- “Our only army is the Salvation Army”

11)   Northern-most capital in the world

12)   Life expectancy of 81, which is three years longer than the US.

13)   70% of Iceland’s energy comes from renewable resources-80% of

Icelandic homes are geothermal heated

14)   Three Hydrogen-powered buses in Reykjavik and public hydrogen filling stations

Photo courtesy of David Noakes
Photo courtesy of David Noakes

15)   Telephone book lists by first name

16)   Iceland has a list of 1500 names that people must choose from to

name their children-or petition the government to approve a name.

17)   A variety of dairy products including Skyr- sorta like thick

yogurt only much better, and flavored yogurt that they put on cereal.

18)   Nightclubs are open until 6 A.M.

19)   Europe’s largest glacier covers 8% of Iceland, and glaciers cover

a total of 11%

20)   You can’t pass fifth grade until you can swim

21)   Licorice-Iceland’s unofficial candy

Reykjavik Skyline, photo courtesy of Tor Benson
Reykjavik Skyline, photo courtesy of Tor Benson

Get the answers you seek and help finding a program that is a good fit for you.

First, get to a First Steps meeting. These meetings are held at noon and 4:00 p.m. daily during the school year in 444 Snell Hall. You’ll meet a returned student and get the basics on the different kinds of programs and how to apply.

Next, identify the programs or regions you want to explore. Important questions to consider include:

Schedule a meeting with an adviser. Call the IDEA front desk at 541-737-3006 to make an appointment.

Be prepared for your advising meeting. Take a look at your degree plan.  What do you have left in the major, minor, or bacc core?  Do you have a sense of when you are planning to graduate?

Think about your financial situation. Your adviser can give you a sense about how aid is disbursed for different programs or scholarships that may be available.  It will also help focus your search if you do need to find a program with lots of scholarship money or have a certain cost range in mind.

Express your goals. What do you want to accomplish academically, culturally, and personally with this experience?  The “why” may help your adviser in identifying programs that will meet your expectations and needs.

Be open. Your goals may lead your adviser to suggest programs you may not have otherwise considered.  This is a chance for you to explore new possibilities and think critically about where best to achieve your goals abroad.

Ask questions. About housing, classes, culture, excursions, program fees, and community engagement opportunities.

Be ready to do some research on your own. Your adviser may send you to the internet to look at a course catalog or links to a program website.  Put the time in after the meeting to get what you need.

Understand how to apply.  All programs have a handy application checklist.  Make sure you know the deadlines for your program, and any additional steps you need to take.

Have a follow-up meeting with your academic adviser. Take program materials and course information for the programs you’re considering into your academic advising office.  Ask your academic adviser about how you can best meet graduation requirements on the programs you’re considering.

Keep searching. It’s just fine to meet with a variety of advisers and program coordinators to find the fit that is right for you.  It’s an important decision, so take the time you need to make it.

Photo courtesy of Shauna Conners
Photo courtesy of Shauna Conners

Richmond Barbour is a professor of English at OSU who will be the visiting faculty member on the AHA Athens study abroad program.

Be sure to come to the information session on October 29 at 4:00 p.m. in Snell 444 to learn more.

Visit Professor Barbour’s blog to learn more: http://studyabroadgreece.blogspot.com/


The Spring 2010 term abroad in Athens will be March 23 – June 19, 2010.


Modern Greek Language (45 contact hours – mandatory)
Beginner or Intermediate
Transition into life in Athens and gain better access to Greek culture through practical language and conversation skill development offered at Beginner and Intermediate levels. Advanced-level Greek can be arranged through the Athens Centre’s comprehensive Greek language program for students with previous Greek language study, contact AHA for additional information.

Monuments of Greece (45 contact hours – mandatory)
Take full advantage of the rich archaeological heritage of Greece through guided study excursions and on-site lectures. Explore the history and culture of Greece from the Minoan civilizations of Crete and Santorini to the Hellenistic period and the conquests of Alexander the Great.

Intercultural Communications and the Greek Cultural Mosaic
(15 contact hours – mandatory)
Examine both the academic and experiential nature of crosscultural communications. Analyze and process your personal intercultural experience in Greece.

Modern Greek History and The Balkans (45 contact hours)
Examine modern Greece from the beginning of the War of Independence through the creation of the new state and the present day. Analyze the position of Greece in the Balkan peninsula in relation to neighboring states through the ties of religion and a common Ottoman history.

Creating Impressions of Greece (45 contact hours)
Develop a strong and disciplined sense of observation by keeping a sketchbook/journal as a record of observations and impressions of Greece throughout the semester. Become familiar with contemporary Greek art through visits to galleries and museums.

Greek Journeys, Mythic and Modern (45 contact hours)
Experience Greece as a destination of real and imagined voyaging. Explore narratives, images, and films about journeys from ancient myths to contemporary cinema. Write your own travel journal and document your personal visions of Greece.

Theater and the Arts of Healing in Ancient Greece
(45 contact hours)
Discover the cults of the physician-god Asclepius, his father Apollo, the god of poetry whose invisible arrows could deliver plague or cure, and Artemis, the goddess of fertility and childbirth. Visit several ancient theaters and healing centers and participate in an on-site production of a play.

Tor Benson went to Iceland for the alternative energy and fish biology and stayed for the sheep’s head. Our correspondent in Reykjavik takes the gastronomic plunge.

Tor Benson gives an enthusastic review of Iceland's cuisine.
Tor Benson gives an enthusastic review of Iceland's cuisine.

I arrived in Iceland’s international airport of Keflavik on the last Friday morning in August after a seven-hour flight, a difference of seven hours from the west coast of the United States.  I was picked up from the airport by my Icelandic friend, Arnar, who had been a student at my high school in Washington State for a year. We had kept in touch so when I told him I was coming to Iceland he insisted I stay at his house with his parents whenever I wanted.

My first impression of Iceland was about their excellent hospitality and simple but very comfortable, clean homes, a sharp contrast to the smell when you take a shower for the first time. Stepping into my first hot Icelandic shower, I was struck by the distinct smell of rotten eggs. Around 90% of Iceland’s energy comes from renewable forms of energy, used to heat water and homes, and for cooking. The rotten egg smell is due to the sulfur that is present in the volcanic landscape of Iceland, although Iceland has some of the purest water in the world.  My experience with boiling water for cooking was a similar one – I started out using hot water to speed the boiling, until I realized that cold water did not contain the sulfur. Even after a lifetime of living in Iceland, Icelanders still cook with cool water because the taste of sulfur is very distinct, even to them.

When Arnar’s parents came to the U.S. they brought a dish known as Hákarl, shark that has been buried and allowed to ferment for several months. Although it is a traditional Icelandic dish, most Icelanders do not care for it, and I agree with them. Even my Icelandic friend, Arnar, had tried it once before and was not going to try it with us. It has a similar consistency to pickled herring, although it is cut in into half- inch white cubes that resemble tofu in both appearance and texture.

My first weekend in Iceland included a number of customary dishes although all of them were much more enjoyable than the shark. I was asked if I had ever had lamb and I replied with a “ Ja,” but was informed that I had never tried barbequed Icelandic lamb. Icelandic lamb has a distinct gamey flavor due to its free range summertime lifestyle.  Arnar’s family then went to a monthly get-together with friends where I was offered marinated and barbequed reindeer, the most expensive and tender meat that can be purchased in Iceland. There are reindeer in the eastern part of Iceland but the population is tightly managed. Reindeer looks very much like beef, but it is much more tender than most other wild animal meat, such as deer or elk.

I think the dish that will surprise people the most is the cutest bird of the north. Although I was unable to see the birds before they flew south, I was able to taste Puffin at a family meal. The Puffin’s diet consists of needlefish and it tastes much like the fish-eating duck of the United States, although smaller.  Puffin is usually served with a sauce that was a little too sweet for me, in comparison to the rich flavor of the meat.

During my second weekend in Europe, I received an invitation to go Arnar’s family summerhouse for the weekend, about an hour out of Reykjavik. It is very common for an Icelandic family to have a “summer” house where they go to relax after a busy workweek. This is well deserved as Icelanders work an average of 46 hours a week, one of the longest in Europe. We left around 3 p.m. and hit what they considered to be traffic, which consisted of bumper-to-bumper cars for one mile, with only a delay of about ten minutes. As soon as we arrived, the preparation of dinner began, which is what Icelandic society seems to operate around- the next meal.

Icelanders eat very well, with a typical dinner consisting of chicken, baked potatoes, and a salad or homemade pizza. Breakfast is usually bagels or some form of bread with flavored cream cheese such as bell pepper cream cheese, and sometimes cereal.  On weekends, Arnar’s family commonly gets together on Sunday to share a European style breakfast of bread, meat, and cheese.

I have spent between one and three days each week with Arnar’s family since I have been in Iceland. This has allowed me to get a diverse feel for both workdays and weekends, and the food that accompanies. I do, however, feel like I should try to give back to them for everything they have provided me, so I made what Icelanders are always thinking about, the next meal. I had a good recipe for sloppy joes, but it has onions in it, which Arnar’s brother and sister do not care for, and his mother does not like the idea of ground beef. Arnar’s siblings were more willing to try it.  I mixed the beef, bell pepper, tomato paste, onion, and beans, and let it simmer a while, and they ended up enjoying it. Even his mother had a taste. Almost every food item is labeled entirely in Icelandic, even the Cheerios and bagels, which is amazing for a population of only 300,000 people, although this does limit their food choices.

Photo Courtesy of Tor Benson
Photo Courtesy of Tor Benson

I have also tried to experience things on my own, and was able to do just that in a sushi restaurant on Laugavegar, the main street of Reykjavik. One of the many ways that Iceland distinguishes itself is its continuation of whaling of about 150 of both Fin and Minke whales from the Icelandic coastline each year. Iceland contends that the number it is harvesting is sustainable and that it has a right to continue because of its heritage, although this all could change with Iceland’s application and possible inclusion in the European Union. Far from the controversy in a kaffi hus ( coffee house) and sushi bar, were three American who had  randomly run into each other while on a walk in the most northern capital of the world. We all ordered a new dish, mine consisting of two rolls of Minke Whale sushi. Its appearance was not distinguishable from a beefsteak, although it was slightly more tender than any steak I have ever had. It did not have any fat on it like you would typically think when eating whale. It was reasonably priced, running around 700 kroner, about six American dollars.

My Icelandic family is also planning on cooking Icelandic lobster, which are smaller than  Maine Lobster but has a higher fat content due to its northerly location making it “much more succulent” according to Arnar’s uncle. There is, of course, the very Icelandic dish of sheep’s head, which I have yet to taste. This includes eating the facial muscles of the sheep, which Arnar’s grandma particularly enjoys. Many of these dishes are not commonly eaten in Iceland, although they have a very strong desire to hold onto traditions, including the old ways of preparing food, but this is mostly a once a year event during Thorrablot, a feast in January. Icelandic winters are long and dark with only about four hours of daylight in the winter which continues to make socializing and food a major part of Iceland’s culture.


OSU students can study in Iceland on the Civilization and Sustainability program in summer, 2010.

Photo courtesy of Ashley Payne.
Photo courtesy of Ashley Payne.

I’m Ashley Payne, the International Programs Student Advisor for the College of Engineering. It’s my job to help all the Engineers at Oregon State hear about how they can go abroad! In my life as a student I am a fifth year senior in Civil Engineering, and I am living proof that if you are an engineering major you CAN study abroad! During my sophomore year I studied for the full academic year at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England (almost directly south of London on the English Channel). While I was there I continued to study civil engineering, completing many of my prerequisites for my professional program like statics, dynamics and my physics series. I absolutely loved studying abroad, so when I arrived back it seemed natural for me to help other Beavers to go abroad!

The most popular programs available to students in the College of Engineering are Danish Technical University, and University of Nottingham.

Students at DTU, photo courtesy of Keely Heintz
Students at DTU, photo courtesy of Keely Heintz

Danish Technical University (DTU) is located just outside of Copenhagen in Lyngby. Despite being in Denmark the primary language of instruction is English. The modern architecture and research labs on campus may make you feel like you stepped into the future, but Copenhagen may have you feeling like you stepped into history. From winding cobbled streets to cutting edge modern architecture Copenhagen is a diverse mix of the old and the new. DTU is the premier technical university in Scandinavia with research in nearly every field of engineering. Anyone in the College of Engineering can attend DTU (yes, even you, nukes).

University of Nottingham
University of Nottingham

University of Nottingham is located in Nottingham, England. Yes, as in Sherwood Forrest, Robin Hood and the Sherriff of Nottingham. While it may have taken Robin Hood days to get to London, it now only takes about two hours by train. But if you feel like staying in Nottingham there is no shortage of things to do in this city of 270,000 people. From the best shopping outside of London, to world class sports facilities, and contemporary arts you are sure to find entertainment in Nottingham. Located on a park campus Nottingham University is one of the best engineering universities in the UK. The following engineering disciplines are available at Nottingham University: Biological, Chemical, Civil, Electrical and Computer, Environmental, Industrial, Manufacturing, Mechanical Engineering and Construction Engineering Management, Engineering Physics. Also, as of the 2009/2010 academic year any OSU student may participate in this program.

There are many other programs available to engineering majors including the University of Cantabria in Santander, Spain, and the Tecnologico de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico, both of which are Spanish Language programs. There are also programs available in German and French.

Employers have expressed to the College of Engineering that while OSU produces very competent engineers with strong communication skills we are often lacking in intercultural communication skills and international experience. Having that international experience is a great way to set yourself apart from other graduates when applying for a job or a graduate program.

Whether you want to differentiate your resume or just live in another country, studying abroad is not only possible it is the experience of a lifetime!

If you are an engineer interested in studying abroad contact Ashley at coe.study-abroad@oregonstate.edu.