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In today's interconnected and global world, having an international experience can help set your student apart and give them valuable skills that will help them in the future.  WVU is committed to providing unique, educational, and rewarding international opportunities to its students.


WHAT IS AN INTERNATIONAL INTERNSHIP LIKE?

There is a vast range of international internships available to students, and each one holds something new, exciting, and different.

In Summer 2019, student Marissa Teodoro accepted an internship with the Starlight Children's Foundation and got to travel to Sydney, Australia. Read below to see what her internship had in store for her!

"Traveling has always played an integral role in my life and I credit it for molding the parts I like most about myself: my sense of adventure, my ability to empathize with diverse groups of people, my extroversion, my worldliness, my willingness to embrace change. To travel is to live and to live is to constantly reconstruct yourself into a better you.  

  As I begin to undergo a transformative stage in my life, characterized by diplomas, moving boxes, and a caffeine addiction, I am constantly asking myself “Am I becoming the best person I can be?” Which is a rabbit hole that pushes me to define what I believe my “best self” is. And, in truth, that definition is near impossible to pin because as I evolve, it does too. However, the enemy to becoming this theoretical ‘best self’ is stagnancy. So, in the Fall of 2018 I decided to merge my yearn for personal growth and my love for travel and accept an internship with Starlight Children’s Foundation, in Sydney, Australia.  

  Summer 2019 graced me with sun-soaked beaches, lush rainforests, and sights so beautiful I’m sure writers much better than I have published sonnets about them. However, my most profound experiences occurred within the walls of a hospital. Thirty-two hours of each of my weeks down under were dedicated to working in the Starlight Express Rooms at both The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and the Sydney Children’s Hospital. Starlight Express Rooms are designed to service children and their families who are patients at the hospital. They are medical-free havens, fully stocked with video games, arts and crafts, face painting, cooking, and endless amounts of fun. The rooms themselves, as well as the wards, are visited by Starlight Captains, from Planet Starlight, who land their rocket ship on the roof of the hospital each morning to hang out with its occupants. 

  Although their origins are fictitious, the Starlight Captains indeed seemed otherworldly. They served as a source of comic relief, often singing, dancing, and acting for the kids; a source of entertainment, and, moreover, a source of comfort for children facing, often extreme, adversity. As a future educator, I learned more outside of the traditional classroom setting than I thought possible. My new knowledge stretching from novel, creative ways to banter with children, to how to console a child who just lost a ward-mate to pediatric cancer. Overall, I learned about and underwent transformative lessons on positivity, optimism, the immense power of a singular friendly interaction, and humanism. Typically, hospitals are a place of distress, Starlight changed that, and Starlight changed me too. 

  As expressed, Australia simultaneously felt like home and a dream. My advice to others who are too looking to grow, to learn, to live, is to prioritize travel, as well as giving back to the places you travel to. My mantra from the beginning of the trip was “just put one foot in front of the other,” regardless of how frightening those steps may be. Saying goodbye, getting on the plane, saying hello, putting yourself out there, starting a new job, navigating a new city, trying new foods, finding your groove, saying goodbye again, getting on the plane. The ebb and flow of beginnings and ends is a part of life, but it’s the life that happens between those steps that makes the first steps worthwhile. Before you know it you’re extending yourself further outside of your comfort zone, unleashing yourself onto new experiences, generating feelings of grandeur and growth, pushing yourself to take more steps, and risks, and plane rides. 

  Be proactive in your pursuit to define your best self and be prepared to leave a piece of you on the other side of the world.  - Marissa Teodoro"




IS STUDYING ABROAD AFFORDABLE?

The short answer is yes! With many different options, education abroad is extremely affordable and available to students of any financial means. 

With all education abroad programs, our Education Abroad Team is able to work with financial aid to adjust your students cost of attendance, often making more grant and loan funding available. It's possible to receive assistance with all costs associated with study abroad, from plane tickets to passports. The type of study abroad experience your student chooses can also have an impact on the financial help they receive. 

WVU Exchange Programs:

Students participating in a WVU Exchange Program pay their tuition and fees to WVU, and in exchange receive benefits at a partner institution.  Almost all of your loans, grants, and scholarships will be available for you to apply to your semester abroad, including the PROMISE scholarship.

Faculty-Led Programs:

Faculty-led programs are also payable with financial aid. Working with your Education Abroad Coordinator, the costs of your program can be included in your annual cost of attendance.

Affiliate Programs:

Affiliate programs offer students the opportunity to study abroad in specific locations where WVU may not have an exchange partner, or a short-term program. These are usually companies that are FOR PROFIT, and often come at a higher cost. Financial Aid will still apply, but by working with a Education Abroad Coordinator, you may find a solution that allows you to study in your dream location with much less financial burden. 

Something students should never overlook: scholarships!

There are a variety of scholarships students can apply for that help with their study abroad experience. Our Office of Global Affairs has a scholarship, multiple WVU colleges offer scholarships for their students, as well as outside sources. Click here to learn more about scholarship opportunities for your student!



SPRING EDUCATION ABROAD FAIR:

January 22nd is the Spring Education Abroad Fair! This is the perfect opportunity for your student to learn all about Education Abroad and find the best program possible.

From 10 AM - 4 PM the first floor of the Mountainlair will be lined with booths from different colleges within WVU, as well as a variety of organizations and partners the Ed Abroad office works with to help offer students a multitude of options for their study abroad experience.

No appointments/RSVPs are needed, and there is no rush to commit to a trip during the fair! Students are encouraged to stop by and discover a world of opportunities that studying abroad provides. Learn about internships, summer programs, semesters abroad, and much more! 

                                            Ed Abroad Fair




THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS:

Are you and your student exploring all of the opportunities for them to study abroad, but aren’t sure which path to take? Education Abroad offers a multitude of study abroad trips that range in length of stay. Does your student want to be abroad for a week, a month, or even a whole semester? Check out the different types of programs below and find the perfect trip for your student.


1.) Short term programs

These programs include Spring, Summer, and Winter break trips, and international internships. Annually, WVU offers more than 50 short term programs in a variety of subjects and locations. These programs can range from one week (ex. Spring Break) to 12 weeks (ex. internship), and give your student an opportunity to earn credits while under the instruction of WVU faculty members. 


2.) Long term programs

These programs include our exchange program. This allows your student to study abroad either for a single semester or a whole year. Students will ‘switch places’ with a student from a partner University, but will continue to pay their regular WVU tuition and fees. Housing and meals will either be paid at WVU or at the partner University.

And spending a semester/year abroad doesn't have to break the bank! Students with federal aid, scholarships, and student loans can use that funding towards their study abroad experience. There are other scholarships available as well to help make your student's dream of getting an education abroad a reality. See what scholarships are available here: https://educationabroad.wvu.edu/funding/scholarships.

Click here for the list of our Exchange Partners: https://educationabroad.wvu.edu/why-study-abroad/wvu-exchange



GLOBAL MOUNTAINEERS CERTIFICATE PROGRAM:

The Global Mountaineers Certificate Program helps prepare your student to be part of an increasingly globalized, modern workforce. The program helps to develop cross-cultural competencies and teaches students to articulate the value of their experience as it contributes to their future plans – in either the workforce or graduate education. The certificate can be easily completed along with the normal degree required courses for most majors. 

Certificate Components:

1.) Completing the Global Mountaineers Certificate program requires two one-credit courses, which can be completed online.

GLO 101 - Introduction to Global Competence (1 credit) introduces central concepts of global awareness, intercultural communication, and global issues. The course prepares students for experiences in education, work or service abroad, as well as for successful integration into the global community.

GLO 486 - Global Competency Summative Experience (1 credit) helps students demonstrate the cultural experiences they've gained through their Global Mountaineer learning endeavors through project-based presentations. 


2.) Language Study

Students must complete six (6) hours of world language study in a language other than English or the student's native language. This can be done at WVU, an institution abroad, or via AP credit.

Language Learning is an essential part of working in a global environment. Exposure to world languages has a great impact on employability and helps create both understanding and opportunities.

Full list of language courses: http://catalog.wvu.edu/undergraduate/undergraduatecertificate/globalmountaineers/


3.) Core Courses

Students must choose six (6) hours from an approved list of over 100 courses. Many of these courses can be used to fulfill GEF requirements for graduation and focus on regional studies, cultural perspectives, and global issues.

Full list of approved courses: http://catalog.wvu.edu/undergraduate/undergraduatecertificate/globalmountaineers/


4.) Go Abroad!

An education abroad experience is a vital requirement of Global Mountaineers. Almost all forms of studying abroad can fulfill this requirement, including spring break experiences, internships, and semester exchange programs.

Search abroad programs here: https://wvuabroad.wvu.edu/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.AdvancedSearch



FOUR BENEFITS OF STUDYING ABROAD:

1.) More marketable to employers: A study done by IES Abroad found that 90% of students who studied abroad found employment within 6 months of graduation as compared to 49% of the general graduating population. The study also showed that students who study abroad obtain starting salaries that were on average $7,000 higher than non-study abroad students.

2.) Improve communication skills: Going abroad gives students the opportunity to interact with people of different cultures and customs. Immersion is the most effective way to learn a foreign language, and helps students connect with other cultures on a deeper level. As for employment opportunities, it's estimated that learning a foreign language could earn employees a 2% "language bonus" on their salary throughout their lifetime.

3.) See the world: Students visiting a country for their abroad program often have the chance to visit several other countries during their studies. Students can have more or less time to explore their surroundings depending on how long their program is. Shorter programs can have trips and excursions planned in advance, while longer programs or international internships give students more freedom to travel.

4.) Make lifelong friends: Participating in a study abroad program already places students in a group of people who share similar interests with them. Students participating in study abroad have told WVU Ed Abroad Coordinators they still speak with friends made abroad on a weekly basis. Going abroad also gives students the opportunity to make connections on an international level.