FMU students interested in traveling internationally learned about FMU’s study abroad programs at an event hosted by the International Domestic Student Ambassadors (IDSA) on Feb. 11 at 5:30 p.m. in the Thomason Auditorium inside the Lee Nursing Building.
FMU alumna Kylie Cracknell, who founded IDSA, studied abroad in 2015 at De Montfort University in Leicester, England. This sparked her desire to help other students at FMU experience studying abroad and to provide assistance to international students coming to FMU. IDSA began to host study abroad information sessions to help students who wanted to learn more about attending a university in another country.
IDSA told FMU students what they need to do in order to qualify to study abroad. Students who attended the event were also able to hear testimonials from other students who have studied abroad. Mark Blackwell, director of the international program, was there to answer questions that students might have and talk about the study abroad experience.
Blackwell said he understands that some students can be nervous about studying abroad.
“I know it is scary to do new things, but think of it this way,” Blackwell said. “You are going to become a different person from studying abroad socially, intellectually and educationally. You are going to mature. That can be daunting, but it is also something that we are all going to do anyway at some point. It is part of the maturation process, but it is a unique way of doing it.”
FMU’s international program provides students with the opportunity to study abroad at 11 universities spread out between five different countries. Kacey Medlin, secretary of IDSA, had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany and talked about her experience studying abroad at the event.
“Four months in a foreign country will change a person,” Medlin said. “Not only are you are exposed to a different culture; you live it and you grow as an individual because of it. You realize the things that are normal to you are not normal everywhere. Most importantly, when you spend such a long period of time abroad, you find yourself when you’re out looking for adventure. You realize what’s important to you, build character and experience and you grow up as your eyes open to new things and new ideas.”
FMU’s International Studies Committee wants students to have at least a 2.7 GPA and have completed 30 semester hours at FMU to qualify for the study-abroad program. Students who meet these criteria have the opportunity to fill out an application for the program. With their application, students must write a 300-500 word essay and submit two letters of recommendation. Once a student is accepted into the international program, they can then apply to the host institution of their choice. The last thing that students have to do is fill out forms from an information packet for FMU. At every step of the process, Blackwell and a liaison are available to provide assistance to students.