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Ole Miss Study Abroad Students Get Younger, Despite Some Concerns

A different type of Ole Miss student is looking to study abroad these days.
“I’d personally say I’ve advised more sophomores this academic year than any other classification and I think that trend is office-wide,” said Skip Langley, study abroad advisor at the Office of Global Engagement at the University.
In the past, students typically studied abroad as juniors or seniors. However, the department is advising more freshman and sophomores. To be eligible for the programs, students must have at least a 2.0 grade point average, but many of the programs require a 3.0 or better for consideration.

Tori Cassell, Feb, 10, 2017, Interlaken, Switzerland / Photo courtesy of Tori Cassell

The most popular countries for students in the Ole Miss Study Abroad programs are China, Italy, Australia and those in the UK. Spain, France and Japan are popular mainly because of their language programs.
“I chose to go to Spain because Spanish is my major, and out of all the Spanish-speaking countries I wanted to be in Europe, so I would be able to travel to other countries easily on the weekends,” said junior Tori Cassell, currently in the Barcelona, Spain program for the spring semester. 
Langley says studying abroad is popular at Ole Miss, even among non-students.
“I can confidently say that we are certainly the largest study abroad office of the state institutions. We have thousands of program offerings and the largest staff of anyone in the state,” said Langley. “We also allow non-UM students to go through our office, so that tells me we are able offer opportunities that our friends in the other parts of the state simply can’t.”
Of course, traveling can come with risks and Langley says he does hear from parents who are concerned about terrorism and other dangers overseas, but Cassell wasn’t worried.
“To be honest, I was happy to be leaving America during the time of Trump becoming president. I honestly felt safer coming here than staying to see the backlash after the inauguration,” said Cassell. “But I was in Paris about two weeks ago and exactly one week to the day after I was in Louvre there was a terrorist attack there. So it’s definitely something to worry about and think about, but it didn’t affect my decision to come to Europe.”
Langley is concerned that students may encounter some rudeness or Anti-American remarks while being abroad, but he pushes for students to learn from it and to take an advantage of the opportunity to travel around the world.
“I’m a simpleton from South Georgia who was been fortunate enough to travel the world without knowing another language. If I can do it, I know anyone here can.”
Story contributed by Julia Martinez, jamarti7@go.olemiss.edu.

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