Trailblazers Go Global
By Joel Griffin, DSU Coordinator of Public Relations
DSU students take advantage of summer Study Abroad experiences
Summer may leave campus feeling a little emptier, but Dixie State University’s “active learning. active life.” experience extends well beyond St. George as Trailblazers take advantage of summer study abroad opportunities.
Over the past several years, Dixie State has increased its focus on high-impact, enhanced, and experiential learning experiences as part of its strategic plan, Dixie 2020: Status to Stature. In expanding the breadth of such offerings, Dixie State has worked to offer more exchange programs, faculty-led programs, and affiliate programs, allowing students to immerse themselves in other cultures and deepen their educational experiences.
“Study abroad is wonderful for opening a student’s vision and helping them see that the world is much bigger than our corner of it,” Jenny Callahan, DSU’s study abroad program coordinator, says. “People do things differently and it works. On the other hand, it also gives students a chance to see how much alike we are.”
To provide more study abroad experiences, DSU is partnering with higher education institutions on an international level to be able to provide robust student exchange programs. Dixie State’s current arrangement with Meijo University in Japan and an upcoming partnership with ULADECH Católica in Peru allows students to attend a foreign university for a semester or more and earn credit toward their degree while still paying the same amount of tuition and fees to their local university.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity,” Callahan says. “It’s an independent experience — the students are ultimately in charge. What they see, the experiences they have, who they meet, where they eat — it’s really up to them, and they’re also responsible to maintain their attendance and grades while they are there.”
DSU’s faculty-led programs provide structured activities planned out by the accompanying faculty member. These experiences are typically shorter study abroad trips and are usually offered during summer. This summer’s six faculty-led programs include studying geology in Ireland, global sport & leisure in Iceland, nursing and natural history in Costa Rica, art history in Italy, and language & culture in Spain.
Fifteen DSU Nursing students attended the eight-day trip to Costa Rica, during which they provided healthcare and health education to the disadvantaged population in rural areas. DSU students learned from peer nursing students from Universidad Hispanoamericana on how to bring healthcare services right into people’s homes.
“The more exposure to the underserved, the more we gain ideas we can bring back to help the underserved in our own communities,” April Peterson, DSU assistant professor of nursing says. “Down there, they know how to care for people who can’t get out of their homes and they can teach us something we can bring back here, because they are always serving the underserved.”
Peterson, along with Nursing Instructor Jennifer Harrington and Assistant Professor of Respiratory Therapy Debra Forbush led the trip, which included health assessments of newborns to the elderly and a day-long visit to the university’s state-of-the-art simulation lab. The lab offers a realistic hospital setting with simulation mannequins to give students a unique hands-on experience.
“I think the experience will help me treat patients better in the future and provide better care.” Sadie Blasdell, a senior nursing student, said.
But aside from what students gain, Forbush says it’s also a valuable chance to give.
“I’ve been in healthcare for more than 30 years, so this is a way for me to give back,” she says. “We try to be examples to our students and teach them that they should give back, or pay it forward, but I think we need to do that more globally also.”
The DSU Study Abroad office also offers affiliate programs that open up an array of international destinations and options for students. DSU Global & Community Engagement Scholarships and financial aid may be available for students that wish to study abroad in exchange, faculty-led programs, and affiliate programs.
For more information on
DSU Study Abroad experiences,