Taking Flight: ASU makes students’ study abroad dreams come true

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By Ally Richmond

ASU was recently ranked one of the top 10 schools in the nation for study abroad programs, and for good reason. ASU strives to create incredible opportunities for its students to travel the world while continuing to study in their field.

One student, Danielle Vermeer, had the opportunity to do just that through her two-month summer trip to Denmark with ASU’s School of Sustainability. A junior at ASU, she is earning concurrent degrees in sustainability and urban planning with a minor in Spanish literacy and cultural studies.

Vermeer spent half of her summer program in Copenhagen and the remainder in Aarhus, all while studying the interconnectedness between sustainability, food systems, urban planning and happiness.

Danielle Vermeer

A highlight of the trip for Vermeer was tasting and learning about the interesting foods of Denmark.

“Going through my program helped me realize that food is not only foundational for our nutritional health but also for our cultural identity, relationships and sense of community,” she says. “My favorite food-related experience was getting to go on food tours where we would walk around the city and indulge in all the wonderful food that Denmark had to offer.”

Not only did Vermeer and her team get to dine and sight-see; they learned about their area of interest: sustainability.

“We spent our days in urban green spaces throughout Denmark interviewing locals and observing how park-goers were using the space,” she says. “At the end of the program, we curated a vision for how we might integrate similar spaces in the United States to promote healthy well-being on a global scale.”

This program was an incredible experience for Vermeer and her peers, and there are similar programs available for students of all different majors.

According to Carrie Herrera Niesen, the manager of marketing and publicity at ASU’s Study Abroad Office, the university attempts to meet students halfway in terms of affordability, program length, increasing available program terms, offering programs related to their major/minor and fulfilling general education credits.

“ASU has over 250 program options in more than 65 different countries on all continents, including Antarctica. We have programs as short as a week, as long as a year and everything in between,” Niesen says.

The programs are growing in ways that better fit the schedules of students.

“Students can go on programs during academic breaks, summer, semester, for seven-and-a-half weeks during semester Session A or B or an entire academic year,” Niesen says. “We’ve worked hard to create options to fit into students’ academic schedules.”

No matter the program, all ASU students are welcome to participate in study abroad opportunities.

“The soonest any student can go abroad is winter break their first semester freshman year as long as they have a 2.0 minimum GPA, are a degree-seeking student at ASU and are in good standing with the ASU code of conduct,” Niesen says.

Many students let the cost of study abroad programs hold them back from participating, but ASU makes it easy for students to afford them through extensive scholarship opportunities.

“Nationally, there are a number of study abroad scholarships available for any undergraduate. We’ve aggregated them into a scholarship search just for study abroad programs, searchable by country, program length and more,” Niesen says.

Many ASU departments offer scholarships specifically for study abroad programs as well. Vermeer received one through the ASU School of Sustainability.

“I received the Walton Global Studies Scholarship, which covered half the expenses of my trip, including airfare,” Vermeer says.

The Study Abroad Office also offers its own scholarships such as the Travel Grant, Diversity Scholarship, Sun Devils at Work Scholarship and the Planning Scholarship.

In addition, ASU offers “Financing Your Study Abroad” workshops throughout the semester to help students figure out how to best pay for their program. It’s never too late to take that leap and travel the world.

“I had never studied abroad before prior to this experience. As a result, being in a new place was scary and uncomfortable at times. However, I would not have it any other way because I strongly believe that we grow the most in uncomfortable situations,” Vermeer says.

Applications for ASU’s study abroad programs are available online. Visit mystudyabroad.asu.edu to learn more.

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