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The Ogden Honors College Goes International

It’s no secret that here at the Ogden Honors College we encourage our students to study abroad, but our efforts don’t end there. International experiences are increasingly part of our on-campus classes, internships, volunteer opportunities and undergraduate research, bringing the world to Ogden Honors and Ogden Honors to the world.

For international experience, study abroad is still the main event. Living abroad challenges students to think globally and grow independently—qualities that benefit students long after they have returned to Louisiana. The thought of packing your bags and leaving home for a summer, semester or even a year can be overwhelming, but the benefits of expanding your worldview will stay with you for the rest of your life.  

Ask just about any Ogden Honors student that’s studied abroad if they encourage others to go, and you’ll get a resounding “Yes!” All of the student panelists at last month’s Geauxing Abroad Student Panel had overwhelmingly positive things to say about their diverse experiences abroad, taking special care to reassure the students in attendance that the risk is worth the reward.

“My time abroad was an incredible opportunity and allowed for me to take advantage of a multitude of new and amazing experiences,” said Ogden Honors junior Blake Kruger, who studied abroad in Marburg, Germany.

Ogden Honors senior Andrew Pham confessed that he was anxious before he took off for his internship in Grenoble, France. “Sitting in the airport waiting to leave for my trip, I was admittedly very nervous,” the chemical engineering major said. “Everything that I had forgotten to do in preparation for the trip suddenly popped into my mind and I was frantically brushing up on my French. Of course, in the end everything fell into place.”

“My summer internship abroad is something I will remember forever,” Pham continued. “Aside from all of the amazing places I got to see and all of the research I was exposed to, what I appreciated the most was being removed from my normal life. This gave me a lot of perspective and time to think about my college career and what path I should take after I graduate.”  Such reflections are music to the ears of our partners in industry who show interest in graduates with international experience.  Cindy Seghers, our Director of Career Development relates that, “companies take note of prospective employees with experience studying abroad, because it demonstrates an attitude of openness to new ideas, diverse culture, and global awareness.”

“Take the leap,” Kruger said. “There is nothing you will regret about spending a week, semester, or year in a new and exciting place learning things you never would at home.”

One of the many advantages of being an Ogden Honors student is that you can count on College staff to help you reach your goal of studying abroad. Ogden Honors Coordinator of Academic Advising and Enrollment Management Jeremy Joiner specializes in study abroad advising, and coordinates with Academic Programs Abroad, the primary office at LSU for international student programs. He can help students consider how a study abroad program might fit with their major requirements, research interests, language abilities, and financial aid packages.

“As a trip co-leader for multiple Honors summer programs, I’ve been able to see, first-hand, the positive impact studying abroad has on students,” Joiner said. “I’m happy to inform students about the incredible opportunities that await them overseas, and to help them form a plan to align their trip with their academic goals.”

But we don’t stop at advising our aspiring travelers—we want to help students pay for their trips, too! Ogden Honors College has scholarships that are available exclusively to Honors students. The TAF Honors Study Abroad scholarship awards anywhere from $500 to $1000, and there are several special interest fellowships Ogden Honors students can compete for in a variety of disciplines. That’s where the Ogden Honors Office of Fellowship Advising comes in. Our Director of Fellowship Advising Dr. Drew Lamonica Arms can help you assess your potential and identify fellowships that will take you to almost anywhere in the world.

It just so happens that now is the perfect time to start learning about the international opportunities available to Ogden Honors students. The Ogden Honors College will host its annual Honors Study Abroad Fair on Monday, November 16, from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM in Laville Honors House. The fair will feature program directors from many of LSU’s summer abroad programs, and there will also be advisers present to inform students about summer, semester, and yearlong international exchange programs.

Among the many programs being featured at the Honors Study Abroad Fair are the Ogden Honors College summer programs: LSU/Honors in Cuba and Honors in the Aegean.

The LSU/Honors in Cuba program is based in Havana and hosted by the Juan Marinello Institute, a Cuban center for cultural research. Led by LSU Assistant Professor of History Devyn Benson and LSU Associate Professor of English Solimar Otero, students will get the chance to experience the history, politics, and culture of Cuba.

“The students will be able to see Cuba for the country it actually is, rather than relying on what is portrayed in the media,” Joiner said. “They will be able to talk to Cubans and learn about their everyday lives and some of the hardships Cubans face day-to-day. Interactions like these then make you think about life in your home country, and make you examine the differences—without using value judgment.”

Students interested in the program are invited to attend the LSU/Honors in Cuba Information Meeting on Wednesday, November 18, from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM in West Laville Lobby.

The Honors in the Aegean program will explore the world of ancient Greece through outdoor lectures, excursions, and exploring the sights and sounds of Greek life. Led by Arms and Maggie B. Martin Professor of Rhetoric and Classical Studies Michelle Zerba, students will travel to more than 12 major sites of the ancient world.

“Honors in the Aegean offers a unique opportunity to discuss and debate the works of the some of the greatest thinkers in Western civilization where they were created,” said Dr. Arms.  “This kind of on-site learning is the incomparable benefit of studying abroad. It’s just an amazing educational experience and we want to encourage our Honors students to embrace opportunities like Honors in the Aegean or Honors in Cuba.”

Students looking for more information are invited to attend the Honors in the Aegean Information Meeting on Thursday, November 19, from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM in West Laville Library.

This Spring, you can even gain international experience on-campus in an Ogden Honors course. The Director of LSU’s Foreign Language Laboratory Michael Dettinger will be teaching a class on Louisiana’s German roots. Students will learn about the arrival of German settlers, the historically German areas of Louisiana, the surprising influence of German customs on Louisiana culture, and shared traditions. You’ll even embark on a cross-cultural exchange with German university students through video.

We want all Ogden Honors students to have some sort of international experience, whether it’s through backpacking Europe or sitting in a classroom. Just take advantage of Ogden Honors College resources and go!


Story by Allison Howell, Ogden Honors College