The Mines international program includes two sides: students coming from partnering programs to study at Mines, and students from Mines studying abroad. While both are small in size, they are growing.
Mary Cook, a staff member of the Office of International Programs, described the importance of having students come to Mines for their study abroad.
“International students on our campus experience a new country and culture in the same way CSM students do when they study abroad. Studying at Mines is often a dream come true for them. They find the experience to be life changing,” said Cook.
While often overlooked and under appreciated, it is an integral part of the Mines campus. Cook said, “CSM is fortunate to have international students on our campus because they bring new and diverse perspectives to our classrooms, they help us understand different cultures, and they become great friends along the way.”
The flip side of the international program is Mines students leaving to study at partnering universities around the world. This offers students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With over twenty countries to choose from, students can have a very customizable experience; students can also choose to study abroad for different amounts of time.
While studying abroad is gaining popularity, it is still often associated with negative outcomes. Many people believe that studying abroad inhibits graduating in four years and is not for those seriously committed to their studies. Cook explained that these associations are very misled.
Cook explained the efforts to make the process easier, “In the Office of International Programs, we have amazing Study Abroad Peer Advisors (students who have studied abroad themselves) who meet with students one on one to discuss their opportunities abroad.”
Molly Groom, one of the mentors, said, “Where and when are the two biggest things to consider. Consider your options; think about where you want to see, what language you want to be immersed in, and what culture you want to experience. Figure out which classes to take abroad. See how it fits your major.” The Office of International Programs is currently working on making it easier to choose when and where to study based on student’s majors.
Groom continued, “Don’t let intimidation and fear hold you back, because it’s definitely an experience that you will cherish for the rest of your life.”
The Office of International Programs is working on laying out the time lines and details necessary for studying abroad for each major. “The professional staff is more than happy to share their expertise on various locations, academic systems, and visa processes. The Office staff and Peer Advisors are here to help guide students throughout the entire process–pre-departure, while abroad, and upon return,” said Cook.
According to Cook, only 3% of engineer students in America study abroad. These international experiences set students apart as they search for jobs because of their diversity and global experience.
Not only does studying abroad help in the job search, it allows for experiences that cannot be offered by anywhere else. Cook enthusiastically emphasized the far reaching benefits gained by studying abroad.
“Living and learning in a very different culture and country allows you to test your own understanding of yourself and grow in ways you never imagined. When you study abroad, you gain a broader world view, develop inter-cultural skills, and make new friends from around the world. All of this enhances your resume, but more importantly it enriches your life!”
The Office of International Programs hosted a fair on February 28th where students that have studied abroad and international students were available to talk to students about their experiences and offer any advice they have. Further information can be found at oip.mines.edu or in the Office of International Programs located in the student center.