Communication campaigns in Spain. Intensive Arabic in Amman. Climate-change research in Norway. There are all kinds of opportunities available to you as a UO student to take your academic passions to another country through Global Education Oregon, also known as GEO.
By studying in another country, you get a unique cultural experience that will allow you to grow academically, personally, and professionally, and it will open opportunities for connecting your career path to places and organizations you’ve never considered before. You may even make connections that we’ve never thought of before. It’s up to you to decide where a global education will take you.
Ready to study around the globe? Hear from six students about why they studied abroad and what their experiences were like.
or interned abroad in 2017-18
available to UO students
class who studied abroad
There are many scholarships available to support international experiences. From distinguished scholarships like the Gilman or Boren to scholarships for specific GEO Centers, there are many ways to help fund your study abroad experience.
GEO Planning scholarships allow you to apply for four scholarships using one application. These scholarships are available for all UO students. Deadline for applications is December 15, 2019, for Spring 2020 programs.
“Leap of faith”
Having never visited another country, Roselyn Poton knew she wanted her first time traveling abroad to be meaningful.
Poton joined a small group of students on the indigenous rights and environmental justice program in Bolivia in the summer of 2019. During the three-week program, she participated alongside the other students in different community service projects with Guarayo, Monkox, and Chiquitano indigenous tribes living in the southern Amazon region.
“I wanted to learn from indigenous people how they view the environment and how they live in harmony with it,” Poton said. “They have so much knowledge and wisdom about the environment. I believe that they are the key to finding solutions to our current ecological and social crisis we are facing: climate change.”
However, Poton almost did not apply for the program.
“I have six kids and I wasn’t working at the time,” Poton said. “I didn’t have any money saved up, but I applied. Somehow the money to participate and study abroad fell into place.”
After returning from the program, Poton has decided to pursue a law degree and become an advocate for indigenous and environmental rights. In October, she traveled abroad again, this time to Brazil, as she was selected to participate in a weeklong workshop on community, identity, and human rights as an Oxford Consortium Human Rights Fellow.
“Rebuilding after a massive conflict”
When he was looking at study abroad programs, Zack Demars thought he would never have a better reason to go to the countries of former Yugoslavia—known as the Balkans—than to study peace building.
Demars was interested to see how storytelling could be a part of the process of rebuilding after a massive conflict.
“I’m of the opinion that everything is connected to journalism because everything deserves to be covered and every story deserves to be told,” said Demars. “I still believe one of the best ways we can build empathy and build trust between people is by telling stories.”
As part of the program, Demars spent 10 weeks traveling between Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo.
One of the most memorable parts of the experience was the visit to the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial which honors 8,000 men and boys who were killed by the Bosnian Serb army in July 1995.
“You go there and you just feel that something really awful has happened,” Demars said. “It was very overwhelming to see all of that, but really incredible.”
The program had a lot of challenging topics, but it gave Demars a clearer perspective on what he’d like to do after graduation.
“Over the course of the trip, I saw what kinds of stories can be told and how I am able to tell them,” Demars said. “It showed me that journalism is how I want to go forward at least right out of college.”
A strong portfolio can be a key asset in starting a career in communications. Mercedes Wright saw studying abroad as an opportunity to develop skills and work samples that would help her stand out.
Wright was a part of the Media in Ghana program which connected her to an internship at a public relations agency in Ghana.
“It was a really good opportunity to gain portfolio experience, to learn from the Ghanaians and to learn about communication in different industries from around the world,” Wright said.
Many different places stood out to Wright while she was abroad, from the beautiful rainforests to seeing and working in a monsoon. But one, in particular, had a huge impact.
“We got to visit Elmina Castle which is the oldest and largest slave-trading port in the world so that was a very emotionally charged and difficult experience,” Wright said. “But difficult in a good way because it allowed people to really come into contact with their whole perception of slavery and what it meant for them to be there. For me, as a black woman, it was an extremely powerful moment.”
Since going to Ghana, Wright believes that her confidence in her professional abilities has skyrocketed. She is extremely proud of being able to go to another country and leave with a successful portfolio.
“Every time I travel and I see a different part of the world I think I am adding to who I am as a person,” Wright said.
“Real Italian lifestyle”
With family ties to Italy, Donovan Jones didn’t feel a strong connection to his Italian roots. This changed after he spent the spring term of his freshman year studying abroad in Siena, Italy.
“I was not planning on going my freshman year,” Jones said. “I looked over winter break for programs and I saw that I could go to Siena as a freshman. I pulled the trigger and applied.”
A pre-business major, Jones chose the UO partly because of the many different study abroad programs offered for students. Studying in Siena allowed him to fulfill some course requirements while exploring the city independently.
Jones balanced his time between classes and experiencing the city. He made friends in his classes, played basketball with other students and talked with the baker who he walked by every day on his way to class. As he met new people and learned about their lives, he saw how important language could be to connect people.
“Going to Siena, speaking Italian, learning it, and being able to communicate with so many other new people was an eye-opening experience,” Jones said. “I loved it.”
When he returned from Siena, Jones added Italian as a second major. Now as a sophomore, he is taking third-year Italian classes and is excited to see what new opportunities come from combining his business and language studies.
Jones plans to go abroad again before he graduates. He is interested in interning in Tokyo or somewhere else in Asia.
“A surprising atmosphere”
As a first-generation college student, Angel Lopez Sanchez understands the value of an education. His parents taught him never to take education for granted, so when the opportunity to go abroad to hone his architecture skills came, he did not hesitate.
“What captured my attention about studying abroad was to further explore my education, my style of learning, and step outside of my comfort zone,” Lopez said. “What better way to do it than in the city known for its historical architecture: Rome.”
The most memorable moment of Lopez’s experience abroad happened in Vatican City.
“St. Peter’s Basilica is the most phenomenal cathedral I’ve ever seen,” Lopez said. “Seeing pictures of the Vatican in class is something that, until you experience it first hand, you will never understand the true value of architecture.”
The experience helped Lopez build his confidence as an architect and develop communication skills when working with others. Now in his fourth year of the architecture program, he has new experience and perspective to draw upon when thinking about design.
From a small town in Oregon to the capital city of the Principality of Asturias in northern Spain, Margaret Faliano has discovered the power of immersion through studying abroad.
Faliano had an unconventional introduction to the Spanish language through the Organic World Language program in high school.
“I was taught Spanish in an unconventional classroom through 100% language immersion without the use of textbooks or desks,” Faliano said. “I experienced the frustration and confusion that comes with the inability to communicate with one’s native tongue in times of uncertainty.”
Although the program allowed her to grow verbally in the language, she felt she was still missing a key component of the bilingual experience: the culture.
Once at the UO, Faliano quickly discovered the many study abroad opportunities focused on Spanish immersion and decided to go abroad to Oviedo, Spain. To her surprise, she not only found the complete cultural immersion experience she was seeking, but also discovered the many different types of experiences and diverse backgrounds of the locals in northern Spain.
“Each day, I was excited to start my ten-minute walk to class from the old quarters of Oviedo where my host mom’s ‘piso’ was nestled next to la Catedral de Oviedo,” Faliano said. “I explored the town and surrounding Spanish cities with the appropriate confidence to be able to speak their language.”
Although she has not chosen a specific career path, Faliano hopes to apply her cultural knowledge and language skills working in business, focused on developing sustainable measures for the environment and communities.
Once you have selected a program that fits your interests and academic requirements, you can submit an online application. Each program page has an “Apply Now” button that will take you to the application login page for the program. Application deadlines vary depending on the program and what part of the year you plan to study abroad.
For more information about the application process, email the GEO advisors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*If you are applying to an exchange program or a program offered through a third-party provider like IE3 Global, you will need to complete a second application.