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Students reflect on study abroad experiences during International Education Week

MU’s Study Abroad program has grown steadily over the years as marketplace demand for global competency increases

November 13th, 2017

Story Contact: Liz McCune, 573-882-6212,

COLUMBIA, Mo. —Visiting an indigenous hill tribe in northern Thailand. Meeting merchants at a market in Bangalore, India. Seeing “The Virgin and the Child with St. Anne” by Leonardo da Vinci at the Louvre in Paris. Interning with the University of Missouri International Trade Center in Prague. These are just a few of the recent experiences of MU students who have studied abroad.

In conjunction with the start of International Education Week, today the MU International Center recognized participants in MU’s study abroad program while sharing stories and images that illustrate what the experience is like with prospective study abroad students.

During Study Abroad 20×20, two students gave presentations about studying abroad—one presenter returned from time in Spain and the other is currently in Costa Rica. Winners of the 2017 Study Abroad Photo Contest were also announced.

“Mizzou offers one of the most robust study abroad programs in the nation in terms of quality, scope and size,” said James K. Scott, interim vice provost for international programs and director of the International Center, who noted that nearly one in four MU undergraduates chooses to study internationally. “Several factors contribute to this interest, including marketplace demand. We are hearing increasingly from employers that international experience helps to distinguish applicants.”

Interest in study abroad at MU has steadily grown. In the 2015-16 academic year, more than 1,600 graduate and undergraduate students chose to study internationally—a 20 percent increase from five years prior. Students can choose from more than 250 programs in nearly 50 counties, with top destinations for MU students including Italy, Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom and France.

“I think that students understand that studying abroad is a way to add value to their degree and can be a transformative educational experience,” said Barbara Lindeman, director of study abroad and assistant director of the International Center. “My team and I work closely with students to ensure they are supported every step of the way, from our pre-departure orientation to creating a plan for success during their stay. Our goal is for students to have a safe, vibrant experience.”

Joseph Beible, a senior studying communication from the Chicago area, lived and studied in Alicante, Spain, last semester. He described the experience as life-changing.

“This was my first experience outside the United States, and I feel like my perspective has changed so much,” he said. “As a communication major, studying internationally has made me realize how important and challenging clear communication is. I am confident this experience will help me as I begin my career.”

International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education. It is part of a nationwide effort to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences in the United States. At MU, it is an opportunity to highlight the wide range of activities and initiatives on our international campus. Other activities planned for the week include an exhibition of international crafts and student videos, international trivia night and a study abroad student panel.

The first place winners of the 2017 Study Abroad Photo Contest awards are below, including links to their images that can be used by media.

Cross-cultural moments

  • Avkavdawv by Cassidy Minarik in Akha Village, Thailand. Minarik is from Woodbury, Minnesota and is majoring in journalism.

Educational moments

  • The Argan Women by Courtney Manning in the High Atlas Mountains, Morocco. Manning is from Powder Springs, Georgia, and is majoring in journalism.


  • London Night Lights by Rayna Sims in London, United Kingdom. Sims is from Columbia and is majoring in journalism.


  • Poet-for-hire by Sarah Sabatke in London, United Kingdom. Sabatke is from Monticello, Wisconsin, and is majoring in journalism.

Tigers Abroad

  • Mizzou Pride at the Brandenburg Gate, submitted by Alex Wagoner in Berlin, Germany. Wagoner is from Overland Park, Kansas and is majoring in business administration and international studies.

Best in show

  • Mesmerizing Market Man by Emily Forsythe in Bangalore, India. Forsythe is from St. Louis and is majoring in elementary education.