Study abroad can be a life-changing experience. Breaking from the routine of studying on campus, students are introduced to new perspectives and immersed in new cultures. They also have opportunities to grow academically, mentally, emotionally, socially and professionally. Both their academic and future professional careers benefit from international experience. That’s why the Office of Learning Abroad took more than 350 students abroad this year and awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships.
An experience that changed her life, Alyssa Backman’s study abroad in Spain was made possible because of one of those scholarships. A biology major from Brigham City, Utah, she traveled with the SUU Psychology Department to study another culture.
Her study in Spain gave her a new perspective on culture, tradition, and an interest in learning more. As her group traveled through the country and visited historical sites, her desire to learn more about those places when she returned home grew.
“My SUU professors help me realize what is important to me,” shared Backman. “Specifically, my Spanish and psychology professors taught me that being exposed to different people, opinions, and cultures is very important when it comes to learning and growing.”
The group observed daily life in Spain, visited historical sites, watched a soccer game at Barcelona and immersed themselves in the psychology of another culture. For Backman, the trip flew by. The most important thing she learned was to not have regrets. Backman went out of her way to get out of her comfort zone by talking to new people, tasting new foods and making fun memories. She firmly believes that made all the difference.
“This trip went by so fast, just as life does,” she explained. “It's important to live, be happy and experience as much as you can while you have the chance.”
Right now Backman’s two goals are to travel the world and become a marine biologist. After this trip she feels more confident traveling in foreign countries, which will make it easier for her to travel again. Studying psychology in Spain, and being exposed to a new culture, helped her understand how to accept and work with people with different opinions, work better in groups and be more open to trying new things. She knows this will help her in her future travels and career.
“I recommend study abroad because being a different country really helps develop opinions, discover new interests and open your mind to new ideas,” said Backman. “Plus, the world is so beautiful and each country, state and city has it's own treasures waiting to be found.”
To learn more about SUU’s study abroad programs visit the Office of Learning Abroad. The study abroad options include semester and year exchange at international partner universities, short-term programs during winter, spring and summer break and national student exchange. The Office of Learning Abroad personally invites every student to step out of their comfort zone and enjoy the richness and variety of culture, language, history and landscape our world has to offer.