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UW Study Abroad
Alia Scott went scuba diving in the ocean and camped in the desert. Ben Wiebers walked cobblestone sidewalks to merry festivals. Dennis Alm dove into the sea and enjoyed campfires on the beach. Megan Degenfelder rode the subway.
All while attending college in a state without an ocean or a beach, where the sidewalks are hardly ornate and where the only Subways sell made-to-order sandwiches. But Wyoming, known as home to the United States' first national park and The Daddy of ‘em All, for its wide-open spaces and friendly people, also boasts a university with a lively Study Abroad program that ensures its students aren't confined during their most progressive years.
"If you want to see the world," Alm says, "come to the University of Wyoming."
Through faculty-led programs and exchange agreements with partner institutions and third-party providers, Study Abroad provides UW students with access to innumerable locations across the world-often only at the price of tuition-to experience new cultures, meet new people and challenge themselves to learn outside of their comfort zones.
"You can watch National Geographic about other places but until you go other places, you can never really understand how the world is so different but yet so much the same," says Scott, a Jackson Hole High School graduate who spent the fall 2011 semester in the Middle East. "I think traveling-and especially Study Abroad, where you get to actually be part of the country and see its inner workings-really connects you with the world.
"Going to different places and dropping your guard and letting yourself become immersed in the culture and the people and trying new things-even if you hate it-is probably one of the best ways to grow as a person."
As part of its effort to better prepare students for life in a world that has become increasingly global, UW has grown its Study Abroad program by nearly 1,000 percent since 2000, when just 40 students headed overseas from Laramie. During the 2010-11 academic year, 380 UW students traveled internationally as part of their educational experience.
Coordinated by Ruth Shepherd, the UW Study Abroad program has connections across the world, making it possible for students to go to Asia, Europe, Mexico or just about anywhere else. "Our students need a better picture of the world, and internationalization is a big part of that picture," says B. Oliver Walter, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and one of UW's strongest proponents of internationalization experiences for students. "In terms of a liberal arts experience, which is broadening one's perspective and appreciation for other cultures and other people, I'm convinced this is about the best thing we can do."
Slideshow of student photos from Study Abroad opportunities