Youngstown State University Center for International Studies and Programs has always given students the chance to study abroad and experience something beyond the college campus.
Michelle Kordupel, junior pre-veterinarian major, recently studied animal science abroad at the University of Nicosia in Nicosia, Cyprus for five weeks.
“It was a lot different from YSU,” Kordupel said. “Besides a typical classroom, we would have our classes on poultry, dairy and organic farms. It was very hands-on.”
Annette El-Hayek, assistant director of study abroad and exchange programs, works closely with students to help them make their decision on whether or not they want to study abroad.
“When I started this job six years ago, people thought we weren’t going to have a lot of people interested,” she said. “We have usually 14-18 students study abroad each semester now.”
El-Hayek also said she always shows students all of the possibilities where they can study and also helps them open their eyes to other countries that they may like.
“There is no wrong destination,” she said. “It’s going to make you much more sure of who you are and where you are going to go in the world.”
Kordupel said while she was studying, she lived in an apartment and experienced Cyprus’ new and ancient cultures.
“The new city was like a normal downtown — like you would see in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia,” she said. “The old city was absolutely amazing. Ancient Greek culture was everywhere — especially in the architecture.”
Emily Diorio, junior political science major, got the chance to study abroad in France throughout the summer.
“Since I’ve been a freshman, they had been presenting the opportunity to my French class in order for us to receive our foreign language requirements,” Diorio said. “It was the same cost as the three credits at the university; I decided to take my last course in France.”
Diorio also said she would love to study abroad sometime again soon.
“It was such a great experience,” she said. “The culture is so different than ours here and it something I will never forget. I’m already looking into programs to go back for next summer.”
Besides studying their respective fields, students are able to enjoy the culture and experience what life is like halfway around the world.
Kordupel said her favorite memory was visiting the Cyprus beaches and snorkeling the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
“They [Cyprus] have the No. 1 beach in the world,” she said. “The sea was so blue, and the white sand and stone beaches were absolutely breathtaking.”
Diorio said she seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris was one of the sights that stuck out to her during her stay in France.
“Seeing it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life,” she said. “The view was breathtaking, and it is so much bigger than it looks in pictures.”
Students are also able to apply for scholarships to help fund their study abroad program, despite the expensive cost.
“Semester at Sea is the most expensive,” El-Hayek said. “But students are able to apply for scholarships and if you have a Pell Grant you can apply for the Gilman Scholarship which is $5,000.”
Kordupel said she encourages any student to take a chance and experience a different culture when they make the decision to study abroad.
“It’s worth every penny,” she said. “Do it now, while you can, and even if money is an issue you can always work something out.”
El-Hayek thinks every student should contemplate studying abroad.
“It tends to let you think outside of the box more,” she said. “It’ll help you go on to bigger and better things.”