College expands study abroad program
By Bryanna Allen
STAFF WRITER | June 09,2014
CASTLETON — Twice as many students will be encouraged to leave campus now that Castleton State College has joined the Institute of International Education Coalition’s Generation Study Abroad initiative with the goal of doubling the number of students to travel abroad before the end of the decade.
The college hopes the annual average number of students studying abroad increases from 11 to 22 during the next five school years.
By joining the campaign, the college is showing further support of students to branch out and gain a deeper educational experience by being immersed in a new culture, said Jasmine Ziesler, associate academic dean.
“Traveling and getting an education abroad lead to other opportunities.” Ziesler said.
In order to increase the popularity of the programs abroad and reach the ultimate goal, students who have come back from a year or semester abroad are required to share their personal experience with other students through presentations and informative lectures.
CSC President David Wolk said the lack of full promotion for programs abroad in the past has been because of the financial restrictions.
“By joining the Generation Study Abroad commitment, the college has redesigned its study abroad promotion plan and increased support to students wishing to embark on such an adventure,” said Wolk in a news release.
Brian Garvey is one student who took complete advantage of abroad opportunities and programs offered at Castleton, starting with an 11-month stay in Spain his sophomore year in 2011.
Garvey said he was completely immersed in the culture. He took classes ranging from grammar to film studies, and became fluent in Spanish during the course of his stay.
“It was life changing,” Garvey said.
That was just the start of his passion for travel. He traveled to Argentina to teach orphans on a $5,000 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship he was awarded through IIE.
Only weeks after finishing school, the 2014 grad will join the Fulbright Colombia English Teaching Assistantship Program after receiving the Fulbright Scholarship, a grant given to students by the IIE.
He was chosen from 180 applicants to teach English at a university in Colombia for one full academic year.
“It’s an amazing opportunity I’ve been given all because I wanted to travel,” Garvey said. He said he was hesitant about funding, but did his research and found that a year abroad was no more expensive than a year on campus.
“I tell other students that it’s the biggest secret that is about to be exposed,” Garvey said of financial aid offered through the program. “You just have to go looking for it.” He now hopes to one day work internationally as a diplomat, building intercultural relations around the world.
Garvey has become an advocate for the initiative, visiting Vermont schools to tell students that if they have the desire, they will find the resources.
“This initiative offers students the chance to better themselves through travel and education abroad,” Garvey said. “I promise you will come back happier, more independent and with a richer outlook on life.”