Study abroad completes fifth year


Daria Sevastianova is a big proponent of international education.

The associate professor of economics has now been taking business students to Osnabrück, Germany for five year as part of The International Summer University collaboration.

Sevastianova said when the program first started she couldn’t say if she saw five year into the future because it depends heavily upon the interest students have each year.

“I like to think of it as a self-sustaining study abroad program,” she said.

In the beginning the interest relied heavily on promotion Sevastianova would have in class, but now word of mouth is helping the program continue.

The students who do join the program spend 3 ½ weeks studying at the University of Applied Sciences of Osnabrück, Germany – Hochschule Osnabrück as well as learning about different cultures.

“First and foremost it’s an academic partnership,” Sevastianova said. “(Students) earn five credits, three of the five come from a business course of their choosing and the remaining two are

remaining two are from an intercultural seminar where they learn about Europe, Germany in Europe and some basic german conversation skills.”

She said the academic element of the trip almost entirely consumes the weekdays. The students will also have scheduled work site visits where they learn about companies in German.

Trips have included Volkswagen, the Environmental Protection Agency as well as copper plants and a paper manufacturing company.

They also enjoy cooking and sporting activities throughout  the week, but the weekends are when the cultural trips take place.

The scheduled trips are to Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam, but Sevastianova said the attendees find their way to other nearby cities as well.

There are some scholarships available for students, but Sevastianova said students interested figure out the financial part.

“I think everyone knows it’s an investment in their future employability and their personal and professional growth,” she said. “It’s money well spent.”

Sevastianova said the program is also a standout in terms of safety.

“With the way the world is today it’s good to know its a very real, very safe study abroad program,” she said.

Sevastianova said she views all of the students from the trips as her “USI family.”

“It’s a really good opportunity just to watch their potential unfold,” she said. “They just really come out of their shells and really step up and do great.”

Morgan Thewes, who graduated from the university in April with a marketing degree, said she definitely stepped out of her comfort zone when she attended the trip.

She was able to study with students from all over the world since the International Summer University invites more than just American students to study abroad.

“They open up your eyes to looking at things you wouldn’t normally,” she said.

Thewes said as soon as she was back home she wanted to go back and she worked with students here to tell them about the benefits of the program.

“It’s inspiring and and I had a wonderful time,” she said. “It helped me open up.”

She said it was a great opportunity for networking and she still is in touch with all the students she studied with. She also keeps in touch with her professor who Thewes said she misses so much.

“(My professor) made me want to go into the business world and work my butt off and be a professor at a university one day.”