Thursday, June 13, 2013

Meet Stephanie Jensen!

Hello Hixson Scholars! My name is Stephanie Jensen and I’m a 2010 Hixson Scholar from Marion County, majoring in Interior Design. I’ll be one of the peer mentors for the fall and couldn’t be more excited to meet you all! 

Now some of you might be thinking, “Study abroad? But I’m only a freshman!” Yes - it does seem rather early to take part in this opportunity, but why not? If you have the chance, you should take it. I may be blunt when I say that, but it’s true. Speaking from my experience in Fall 2012, studying abroad in Rome, Italy was the best semesters of my whole college life. I will never regret every Euro and dollar spent, trips made and missed, friendships made, the gelato and cappuccinos consumed, and the outrageous amount of pictures taken. I can definitely go into detail about my study abroad experience, but I won’t since it would take hours. In the fall, please please please ask me if you have any questions, comments, want to see pictures, or just talk about my experience with studying abroad! Anytime, any place.

Study abroad can be intimidating at first considering (from my own viewpoint) that I didn’t know anything about the whole process and how to prepare for it. I knew for sure that I had to get a passport and plane tickets, but other than that, I was completely lost. My situation may be a little different since I am an interior design major and the program is pretty set-in-stone for the fall of your junior year. However, the preparation is similar. Later on in my blog post, I’ll list some tips if you plan on studying abroad in the near future (which I hope you will greatly consider!). 

Now to get technical, Iowa State offers Study Abroad Shorts – these are exactly what the name says. Short. You can either spend your spring break or 3-4 weeks during the summer at your wanted destination. That of course is dependent on if they offer a “short” for the area you want to visit – as of now there is: Belize, Bahamas, Italy, China, and Spain. These shorts are if you don’t want to spend a whole semester abroad and if you just want to get a taste of being away. If you would like to study abroad for a semester (or a short for that matter), the next step would be to talk to your academic advisor to see what they offer for your major and college (Liberal Arts and Science, Engineering, etc.). Then I would suggest talking to someone in the Study Abroad Center in the MU (Memorial Union on campus near the Campanile on Central Campus).            

Remember those tips I said I would tell you about? I’ve included them below – Study Abroad Tips and Advice:
1)    It is worth every penny.
2)    Get your passport and plane tickets ASAP.
3)    The cheapest plane ticket isn’t always the best – look around for dependable airlines or go to your local travel agent.
4)    Keep up on the language that your country will be speaking (if going to a non-English speaking country of course)
5)    Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
6)    Go out of your comfort zone!
7)    Enjoy the country. Meet new people. Learn something new everyday – there are so many opportunities just waiting for you to try!
8)    You will find out more about yourself and possibly figure and narrow down more goals in your life.
9)    Look up transportation options ahead of time so you know what to expect when you get there and what can be the best bang for your buck.
10) The meaning of pack light will become even more apparent when you actually begin packing everything for a whole semester.

 I can’t wait to meet all of your bright and shining faces in the fall! If you have any questions/comments about any of this, please don’t hesitate to email me anytime over the summer! Here’s my email address:  ENJOY your summer!

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