The Perks of Study Abroad

The Cal State LA International Office has arranged information sessions on the types of exchange programs and scholarship opportunities for students.


Marissa Chavez, Digital Editor

Studying abroad can have a positive impact on an individual’s career and individual growth. Students can receive academic credits all while developing language skills and expanding their intellectual and cultural capabilities.

The International Student Organization on campus has over 25 different exchange programs to consider. Some programs last for a few weeks over summer and are led by faculty, while others can last up to a full semester. Each program has several destinations to choose from, everywhere from New Zealand to Spain.

“Studying abroad allows you to become independent,” said fourth year student Ann Pastor, who recently studied in the United Kingdom. “It’s a good opportunity to meet friends and be able to experience new culture and a new education system that’s very different from ours.”

California State University (CSU) International and Cal State LA programs offer both financial aid and scholarship opportunities to eligible students. Those who already receive financial aid can use that same amount to study abroad, with no extra fees.

Outside of the CSU system, there are thousands of other scholarship programs available online for students. Some are designed specifically for first generation scholars and for students with a green card.

“Cal State LA students have a good shot for national scholarships,” said Tasha Wilis, Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work.

Wilis is also the Faculty Director for International Organizations on campus and has overseen two study abroad programs.

“Studying abroad is the best investment you can make,” said Willis. “In my experience, it has opened many doors for more job opportunities, it gives you more confidence in interviews and it transforms you.”

International student Fabian Sanabria has traveled from Columbia to Los Angeles to experience “a better quality of life.” He is spending his semester here at Cal State LA studying business administration and plans on extending his stay for a full year.

“Getting to study here in the United States is the best,” he said. “Learning business here is so prestigious back at my home in Columbia and very, very good for a resume. I think it’s something everybody should do.”

Sanabria hopes to return to the U.S. as an international student for a business administration internship in the future.

Studying abroad is open to students of any academic level, including graduate-level. Students can apply to an internship or a graduate school for up to one year after their graduation date with the same benefits and aid as before.

“I’m interested in studying abroad to expand my cultural knowledge and see how other sides of the world live,” said Psychology student Jose Alvarado (J.R). “There isn’t an American experience compared to going somewhere else, there’s just things you can’t find in a country you were born in.”

The International Organization will be holding open sessions every few weeks over the next three months to provide information on scholarship opportunities and the benefits of studying in another country.