Study Abroad Fair: Ariel Bloomer on why SOU Students Should Study Abroad

If you missed the recent Study Abroad Fair and really wanted to go, you’re in luck– We here at The Siskiyou were able to get some info on the programs. If you’re wondering just how these study abroad programs can benefit students, Education Abroad Advisor, Ariel Bloomer, has a has some examples; 

“Students can: Access classes or whole fields of study we may not have at SOU (think: Ethnobotany, Korean Language, Marine Biology, Art Conservation).  Make progress on their degree while exploring the world outside of Ashland.  Develop valuable skills, which may include language, problem-solving, cross-cultural communication, adaptability, and confidence. Expose themselves to new career paths, cultural values, and approaches to common societal problems (like students experiencing public transportation systems abroad). Meet degree requirements by studying abroad: the business major, for example, has an “Additional Requirement” that can be met by studying abroad for a year (and if the student is taking business classes, they can also be checking boxes in other parts of their major as well!).Develop personal growth outside their comfort zone, (Whether you are figuring out a grocery store in a new language or how to use the metro in a new city).”

Bloomer also provides some often overlooked benefits to the programs:

“Some exchange programs can be comparable, or even less expensive, in price to studying in Ashland, due to lower cost of living in many of our exchange locations. 

Some programs taught in non-English speaking locations like Japan or South Korea, offer  classes taught in English, and so students even without that language background can be successful and have amazing opportunities. Students studying abroad for a semester can get great return-on-investment when their credits come back to SOU’s quarter system; exchange students pay 15 credits per term that they are abroad, but may bring back 20 or 22 SOU credits from a Fall semester. National Student Exchange is often overlooked but has some very unique opportunities, like French immersion in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Jazz Studies in New Orleans, Louisiana, or Outdoor Leadership in Alaska”

Alongside those benefits, many study abroad programs offer scholarships to support students, alongside scholarship applications beyond the programs’. SOU’s Direct Exchange isn’t the only program available to students; there are other study abroad programs affiliated with SOU; a few are listed below:

  • Academic Programs International (API) offers programs across Europe, Latin America, and Oceania. If an applicant has enough proficiency in the subject of their study, they may practice more challenging coursework. API also offers a scholarship to applicants between $500–$1,000, as well as other scholarship applications.
  • IE3 Global is a program run out of OSU in Corvallis, with a range of programs from Animal Science to Arts and Humanities, and many locations to study– a few being Germany, France, and South Africa. IE3 offers scholarship opportunities for applicants.
  • Semester at Sea offers students a literal semester at sea; the program takes students through 10 countries to study various disciplines, such as anthropology, business, environmental studies, etc, with housing provided via a cruise ship. The program provides applications for both merit and need-based scholarships.
  • University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) offers programs for semesters and summer, with direct enrollment with partner universities abroad. Applicants will be considered for the USAS-SOU scholarship, and can find more scholarships through their USAC Scholarship application. 
  • There are other scholarships and grants available to study abroad students, such as the Gilman Scholarship, with scholarships around $5,000 with a deadline of March 2023 to apply.

If you’re looking to apply, Bloomer again gives some guidance below:

“Students can browse all their options on our Inside SOU page. Students then meet with a peer advisor or the education abroad advisor to discuss their program of interest and any questions they may have, and fill out an application for SOU. The components of the application change depending on if the student is applying for an SOU exchange or to go on a program through one of our partner providers, like IE3 Global or API. It is then an ongoing process of submitting documents, choosing courses, applying for student visas (if necessary), and, of course, buying plane tickets! In general, we are looking for students to have at least a 2.5 GPA, but some partners have higher GPA minimums.”

More info on the study abroad programs can be found on the InsideSOU website through International Programs under the Student Employment tab. Act quick since the deadline to apply to study abroad this fall is February 15th. You can email Ariel Bloomer at  if you have any questions about study abroad.

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