Diving into a new environment

Markeya Thomas | Submitted Photo During Maymester 2012, journalism students went to Istanbul Turkey to study Media, Journalism, and Business in a Global World.


The opportunity to travel the world during college years is ideal for most students. Georgia State’s Study Abroad program provides that option for various majors to various exotic locations.

Journalism major Ivanka Skovardanova, who traveled to Turkey, was one of the many students who traveled abroad this summer through the program.

Markeya Thomas | Submitted Photo
During Maymester 2012, journalism students went to Istanbul Turkey to study Media, Journalism, and Business in a Global World.

“It challenged the way I looked at the world,” Skovardanova said. “I had the chance to see how people in other countries did business and how media impacts their society and culture.”

According to the Georgia State Study Abroad Office, 756 students studied abroad during the 2010/2011 academic year in 70 various programs.

In Istanbul, Turkey, students examined media, journalism, and business.

In Costa Rica, students studied linguistics. Students in Liberia explored how womanism shaped the country. During the 2010/2011 academic school year, there were 45 short-term programs and 25 exchange programs offered, according to the Study Abroad Office.
Traveling abroad allowed students to experience a new and or similar culture, step out of their comfort zone, and earn credit towards their degrees and minors. Although a few students had trouble with their credits transferring quickly, those who didn’t have that problem recieved them with an easy-made A.

“I had to abandon a lot of social norms, and instead try to evaluate what I had learned through an entirely different lens,” said Melissa Cruz, a junior English major who traveled to Liberia this summer.

Not only were students challenged with their perspectives, they were exposed to many new sounds, tastes and sights, which for some might have been a sensory overload.

“Driving – or even being a passenger in a vehicle – caused culture shock,” said Cruz. “There are no traffic laws in Liberia, and people are constantly walking through the roads so that you are always dodging someone.”

Not all students were dodging things this summer. Some dove right in to their new environments, experiencing everything.

Journalism major Karon Franklin, who traveled to Costa Rica, said his favorite place was Puerto Viejo, a small city on the Caribbean coast. The Latin-Rasta lifestyle made him reevaluate all his values and desires in life.

Whether students planned to study abroad to get away from home, receive credits while learning about a foreign culture, or have a delicious experience tasting new food, students received more than what they expected.

“I aspire to live the lifestyle that I witnessed in Puerto Viejo,” Franklin said. “I had this ambition previous to my trip, but it was wonderful to see my dream in reality. Capitalist society does not fit my nature at all, and I cannot wait to escape it.”

Based on a survey done by the Institute for the International Education of Students on the experiences of study abroad, alumni from 1955 to 1999 concluded that 76 percent felt they had acquired skills that influenced their career paths, 98 percent felt studying abroad helped them better understand their own cultural values and biases, and 96 percent felt it increased their self-confidence. More statistics on study abroad experiences can be found at www.transitionsabroad.com.
Students are encouraged to attend the Study Abroad Fair this Thurs., Oct. 11 in the Student Center Ballroom from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.