Chico’s state study abroad program stands out – Chico Enterprise-Record
CHICO – Chico State’s Study Abroad Program was recently named one of the Best Study Abroad Programs.
The Institute of International Education has recognized the university as one of the most active and dedicated higher education institutions in the United States in its study abroad category, according to a press release from Chico state. In its most recent Open Doors rankings for the 2019 and 2020 academic year (the final year for which data is available), the Institute of International Education ranked Chico State’s study abroad and exchange program at number 5 in the nation, two spots from the last Year for Masters colleges and universities with 59 participants studying abroad for a year or more.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has recently been a gap in students studying abroad.
“We’ve been on a hiatus in international mobility since the pandemic broke out, but we’re slowly but surely reopening,” said Chico State Study Abroad and Exchange Program Coordinator Ximena Ospina. “The health and safety of our students comes first. We have a social responsibility towards the countries and make sure that decisions are not made lightly. “
Ospina said there are currently 30 Chico state students studying abroad and another 30 will stand up for the spring semester. A handful are also scheduled to travel for the January short-term program.
Some of the most popular countries that students visit are Peru, countries in Western Europe, Thailand, South Korea, and Japan.
Ospina studied abroad herself.
“I can speak from my own experience. I went to Chico State for my bachelor’s degree and studied abroad, ”she said.
Ospina also worked as an international advisor for the State of Sacramento.
“In my own experience, Chico State did a great job. It includes information sessions and ensures that information is passed on to the students, ”she said.
Ospina said that studying abroad is gradually blossoming again.
“We are very hopeful, the world is still fighting, but there are a lot more cures and more vaccinations. I hope the numbers hit 300 again and we have a slow reopening, ”said Ospina. “We want to be conscious and careful when we reopen, and make sure students are safe and healthy.”
Ospina said Chico State does a great job helping students achieve their study abroad goals.
“Chico State is known for its deliberate and attentive programming before, during and after studying abroad.”
Students studying abroad often return and work as a study abroad advisor or intern for the university.
“You get paid positions for the front desk. They are the ones who run the information sessions. We have offices where students can come in and talk, ”said Ospina.
Students studying abroad today have to comply with vaccination and mask requirements.
“Some countries are stricter,” said Ospina. “You must wear a mask indoors. Some countries are also more relaxed. We take care of the protection of the students. We don’t want them to be hospitalized. “
Ospina said her colleagues play a huge part in making the students’ trip a success.
“DR. Jennifer Gruber, President for International and Educational Engagement, did a great job; we couldn’t do this at Chico State without faculty. The advisors, grant representatives, and the registrar are all involved in helping students overseas” Ospina said, “It’s such an academic opportunity. It’s a fundamental experience for academic and professional development.”
The study abroad program also supports students coming to California from international waters.
“We take care of students coming to California,” said Ospina. “We have international education and global engagement. We have a unit that I oversee. We all work together. “
Ospina said they should do a lot of research before studying abroad.
“It is important for her to have a plan and be ready to accept the unknown,” she said. “You should take part in the orientation and be aware of everything related to vaccines and mask requirements and quarantines in the event of the pandemic. You also need to have a certain amount of respect for the culture of this country and practice safety and kindness. You are there as a guest and should be culturally and sensitive. “
Vanessa Mendoza completed a study abroad program in Costa Rica in Chico State Senior and Animal Sciences in spring 2019. She now works as a program assistant / front desk employee in the Office for International Education and Global Engagement.
“The Chico State study abroad program has been extremely helpful in the study abroad process. They really went out of their way to make sure I went abroad. Before I left there were some obstacles and I almost didn’t go abroad because I didn’t think it was possible, but the study abroad advisors really took the time to advise me and reassure me that it was the right decision for me “Mendoza said in an email interview.
Before studying abroad, Mendoza made sure to use the university’s study abroad preparation facility.
Mendoza said the Chico state community sets it apart from other schools’ study abroad programs.
“I think that’s why a lot of students go overseas because our campus community does an amazing job of helping students and reaching out to students to attend their programs / events. Students, especially first generation students, seek connections on campus that enable meaningful connections that give them a sense of belonging. That has a large part in the success of the course and in participation, especially when studying abroad, ”she says.
Mendoza began studying abroad before the pandemic broke out, so she didn’t have to worry about vaccination and masking requirements.
“However, I know that there are currently strict protocols in Costa Rica, for example people are not allowed to be on the street late at night, otherwise they will be fined. They also allow certain people with license plates to drive a car on certain days. … It’s pretty confusing, however, but the best way to describe it is that they are taking serious precautions to protect the public, ”Mendoza said.
Mendoza has some solid advice for students looking to study abroad.
“I would advise students to seek discomfort, not to be their own limitation, to live in the moment and to live their ‘pura vida’ as they say in Costa Rica,” she said.