Peer advisers emphasize the benefits of studying abroad


Erica Rinehart

Senior Erica Rinehart studied communications, history and cooking at Lorenzo de Medici in Florence, Italy during the Spring 2022 semester

Taking college courses in foreign countries is something many students have on their college bucket lists. With the study abroad program and peer mentors, this is something that can easily be achieved.

Iowa State offers programs on all seven continents, and they can be used to fill major, general education or credit requirements. Programs over class breaks can last one to three weeks, and full-semester or year-long programs are available as well.

“My biggest tip is to just go do it,” said Kathryn Cosgrove, a senior in supply chain management and study abroad peer adviser. “We have hundreds and hundreds of programs that can fit just about every major, and you can find courses that will go toward your degree.”

Cosgrove spent two semesters abroad, once when she was a freshman and once when she was a junior. She studied Spanish in Spain and environmental science in Ecuador.

“Study abroad gives students the opportunity to really explore different cultures and other countries while achieving your degree,” Cosgrove said. “It’s a really cool opportunity for students. It looks great on resumes, and you just learn a lot about yourself.”

The cost of travel is a worry for many students studying abroad, but Cosgrove assures there are ways to make it affordable. Some programs are less expensive than Iowa State’s tuition, and others offer opportunities for scholarships.

“We usually recommend that if [students] are interested in it, they should start looking at our website and telling their advisers their first semester,” said Nicole Young, a senior in English and study abroad peer adviser. “They aren’t falling behind by any means if they don’t do that; it just puts it on everyone’s radar.”

During her junior year, Young was able to travel to Lancaster, England, to study film, science fiction, creative writing and psychology. Here, she learned how to be adaptive and independent, which she has carried over into her time back on campus.

“If it’s something that’s ever even run through a student’s mind, we usually recommend them to come talk to us because sometimes it just takes that first step for them to have one of the best experiences of their life,” Young said.

While it is better for students to sign up sooner rather than later, the office works to help as many students as possible have this opportunity. It is recommended for students to study abroad in the spring semester of their sophomore year, but students are able to participate in programs anytime while at Iowa State.

The Study Abroad Center, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 281 Parks Library, for interested students to talk with peer advisers.