International Education

O'Dowd Hall, Room 328
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2889
ie@oakland.edu

Alex Zimmerman, Director
(248) 370-2843
azimmerman@oakland.edu

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Summer Advising Hours                                                                                          

Monday - Friday,  8 a.m - 5 p.m., by appointment

To set an advising appointment, contact Shirley Smith, campbel4@oakland.edu or 248-370-2889.

 
All advising in 328 O'Dowd Hall unless specified
* Based on availability
 

See an Adviser

Meet with a student adviser and get your study abroad/away questions answered! Each adviser can help you with all programs in any country offered through OU and the International Education Office. Appointments are not required.

For additional study abroad/away information, please email the International Education office.

Meet the Student Advisers!

Amy Dewald

Amy Dewald
Study abroad: Seoul, South Korea
Major:
 Accounting
When: Fall 2016

My Experience: I knew for years that I wanted to study abroad in South Korea. The fast-paced innovative business and technology environment of the country alongside the rich and rooted culture fascinated me. I had to go and experience it for myself. While in Korea I was able to travel to many places very easily. My favorite excursions included hiking up mountains, making traditional Korean pottery, playing on the beach with other study abroad students, and exploring the various cultural destinations Korea has to offer. I loved studying at Yonsei University because I was able to take classes with students from all over the world and learn Korean in an intensive yet fun class (I can now have conversations in Korean and I didn’t really know any Korean when I arrived in August). Through study abroad I was able to teach English at a senior citizens center, mentor children in a poorer neighborhood in Seoul, try amazing food, see incredible music and dance performances, and ultimately have an experience that would change me and allow me to make friends that will last a lifetime.

You can do it! No need to stress: I remember the process before I left, and it was kind of intimidating because you wonder if you can get everything together right so that it all runs smoothly. I think that this can sometimes scare students from tackling the preparation and opting to not study abroad. What I learned is that the International Education office at OU has sent students abroad time and time again and they are always enthusiastic to answer questions and help you out along the way. You don’t have to plan your experience alone and once you get it all done and head off to your study abroad destination, it’s all 1,000 times worth it. It will be an experience you will carry with you forever.

Being Abroad: Speaking as a student who went to a country that doesn’t speak English as a first language, I can tell you that I was able to learn so much while I was there. My advice would be to try to look for opportunities to spend time with locals in your host country. I got to volunteer with children and elderly people during my stay in Korea and those were the most rewarding times. By spending time with Korean people, I got to learn more of the culture and the language than I would have if I stayed in my shy comfort zone. Also, I would advise potential study abroad students to make new friends with locals as well as other study abroad students. I had the opportunity to make friends with students from all over the world including Sweden and China. You’ll be exposed to so many different people and it will open your heart in ways you never realized.

View Amy's photos on our Facebook page.

Brianna Tombaugh

Brianna Tombaugh in front of a bridge over water in London at night

Study Abroad: Norwich, England

Major: Human Resources Management
Minor: International Management
When: 2016-17 academic year

Why go abroad? Making the decision to study in a different country may not be easy for everyone. I made this decision because it was something that I had always dreamed about. I am a person who believes that experiences shape the way people think and perceive the world. New experiences and challenges allow individuals to grow and have a better understanding of how the world works. Moving somewhere foreign can be a daunting thought, but if the opportunity is there, take advantage of it! This experience was one of the best decisions I have made as a young adult and I hope that more OU students are able to do the same!

Experience: Becoming an exchange student for an entire year in another country meant that I got the complete student experience. I was assigned a flat (dorm/apartment) with seven other students going to UEA- six British students, one EU National and myself. While I was at UEA I was able to meet other students from all over the world including, Pakistan, Bulgaria, China, France, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and the Czech Republic just to name a few. Meeting these people really taught me about cultural differences and viewpoints that others may have about the world, which definitely expanded my horizons.

Why UEA? I chose to go to UEA and become an exchange student because of where I was in my academic journey. As a sophomore at Oakland I decided that if I wanted to study abroad it would have to be during my junior year. After looking at all of the different options offered for studying abroad I had to make a decision; I needed to find the program that would be conducive to my academic plan. After doing research and talking to my advisor, I concluded that becoming an exchange student would be the most beneficial option for me. UEA offers a wide range of courses (or modules as they call them in England) that I was able to get approved by the School of Business Faculty and earn both credit and a transferable grade for. Beyond that, UEA had several opportunities for students to meet with business professionals working in England. An example of this would be Employability Week. During Employability Week all students had to attend seminars with professionals in our intended fields instead of going to class. This gave me the chance to learn different practices and thought processes which allowed me to gain a more globalized perspective in terms of business.

Highlights: Upon my arrival to the University of East Anglia I was warmly greeted by orientation leaders. These individuals showed me where I was staying and helped me take my luggage to my room. Hours after making my way to my room I talked to other international students in the flat next to mine, who quickly became some of my best friends. Together we attended all of the welcome activities and started making our way through the city of Norwich. With some of these friends I explored England, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, the Czech Republic, Italy, Malta, Greece and France.

Advice: Going to school at an English University (or Uni, as English students would call it) is very different in comparison to attending an American University. Everyone always says that at the University level “teachers won’t hold your hands”, well in England it was a whole new extreme. Tests and quizzes were limited and there was no assigned homework. This meant that all of my studying and practicing was to be done on my own. All of my classes were one year in duration, meaning that from September to June I was enrolled in the same eight classes with the same lecturers. I had final exams that were worth 80% of my grade which worried me in the beginning but turned out to be just fine! All of my instructors were happy to help if I had questions, and there was a tutoring center on campus for any additional questions.

View Brianna's photos on our Facebook page.

Katerina Mihailidis

Katerina Mihailidis in France

Study abroad: Angers, France
Major: French Language and Literature and Journalism
When: Summer 2017

About me: I was born in the U.S., but I grew up in Greece, experiencing the best of both worlds growing up as a bilingual and bicultural individual. I began studying French in sixth grade while I was in Greece, and that’s probably when my passion for the French language and culture was born. I loved French as much as I loved switching between all three languages and finding the common etymological similarities. I moved to the U.S. at the age of 18 to start my undergraduate studies at Oakland University. My love of French carried over to college and French became one of my majors. In addition to French, I am also majoring in journalism with a dream to travel and write. My journalistic travels started with my visit to Angers, France for Study Abroad.

Why I studied abroad: With a dream to travel and write about people and cultures, I chose to study abroad in France, where I would be able to most comfortably communicate and document my experiences. I wanted to capture the essence of a culture different than the ones I was familiar with. I wanted to get to know the people, the locals and make foundational connections and friends.

During my time in France, I maintained a blog and I wrote and wrote and wrote.

Through my program I got the chance to talk to the locals and share stories and experiences with families (my hosts and others) in French. Despite the hectic class scheduling and the short amount of time that I was there, my time in the picturesque and beautiful city of Angers was simply lovely.

My Experience: Classes were long, homework was pleasantly challenging, but there was plenty of time in that one month of July to explore the city and see France. The excursions and the food were by far the best part of my experience. I was in homestay and all my meals were home-made, French and delicious. The cheese and bread were heavenly. The roommate I was assigned to became a very close friend and I got to see places that I had only ever heard about in my studies. Physically going to sights that were rich in history and beauty was incredible.

Why you should study abroad: You will be able to escape your comfort zone, explore the world and become more aware of other cultures. A study abroad experience, no matter how long the stay, is eye-opening and fruitful in all aspects. You will make friends and discover delicious or perhaps strange foods and desserts, but an experience such as this will make you spiritually, culturally and socially a richer person.

Despite common misconception, the trip is affordable. There are so many scholarships to apply for that can help pay for you experience. We advisers can help you out with almost anything! Just come see us in our walk-in hours or make an appointment! I assure you, we will all be happy to see you. Let us share our story with you so you can begin writing your own!   

View Katerina’s photos on our Facebook page.

Margarette Rogensues

Margarette

Study abroad: Orleans, France
Major: French and Spanish translation and interpretation
When: Summer 2017 

Why I studied abroad: I studied abroad because I am a French and Spanish translation and interpretation major, an International Relations minor, and a traveler. I knew that this would be a great way to work on my French skills, especially speaking skills which I find the hardest to do in the United States without other native speakers around. I had been to France two times prior with my high school, but it was very structured and we had very little time in any one place so I thought this would be a great way to get a more realistic French living experience, which I thought would be perfect as I plan to live abroad.

My experience: My experience was quite unique since I did an exchange program. It meant that it was a much more independent program. I had several classes during the day but was never given homework or exams, though I did get 6 credits for transfer despite the grades not helping or hurting my GPA at OU. It also meant that I had to figure out how to get from the airport down to my host mother’s house without assistance. They planned no excursions for us, but, since they gave us no homework, there was plenty of time to explore the city and travel. I travelled to an anime convention in Paris on one weekend and Rome with another student from Kansas for a long weekend.

Tips for studying abroad: Start researching early. I can’t express how important this is. Even though I started planning 2 years in advance, because of some issues that were beyond my control, there were some rocky times with planning my trip. I was prepared though so it made those times easier to deal with and push past compared to if I had not done so much research. Figure out the type of trip you want to go on. Do you want to be with other OU students and faculty, or a mix of lots of different types of students but with some guidance, or do you want to have the option to do and see what you want, when you want like I did. Figuring out if you want to do study abroad for credits is another important task and deciding if you want it to help your major, minor, or gen eds can help you narrow down your choices as well until you find the best choice. And finally, don’t feel like you can’t ask for help. Advisors and the rest of the study abroad office staff are very helpful in keeping you on track and making the process as smooth as possible so never forget to use your resources.

View Margarette’s photos on our Facebook page.

Abigail Brown

Abby Brown

Study Abroad:
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Major: International Relations

When: Spring 2017

Why I Studied Abroad: I had dreamed about studying abroad from the minute I learned that this was a possibility. I have always loved to travel and the thought of living in another country and truly experiencing another culture sounded incredible. I have a Spanish minor and I completely love the language. However, my dream was always to go to Europe, not Latin America. I ended up deciding on my program because I wanted to be able to speak Spanish but I also wanted to go somewhere that was summer while it was winter in Michigan.

Experience: Studying abroad completely changed my life. I became more independent, confident, self-assured, flexible, patient, and brave. I grew up in a small town, so living in a big city was completely foreign to me. Now I cannot wait to live in one again. I was able to walk to the majority of places I wanted to go and when the walk was too far I could always take subways, trains, and buses to travel around. I loved being able to speak Spanish more than English. The coursework was difficult, as it was all in Spanish, but I have never learned more about the language or felt more confident using it. I have been taking Spanish since kindergarten but I would never feel as confident using it if I had not studied abroad. I had an incredible time and I will be eternally grateful that I had the opportunity to have this experience. I would strongly encourage everyone to at the very least consider it and not let money hold them back. There are an abundance of scholarships just waiting to be used, all you need to do is apply and get started.

Advice: My first piece of advice would be to do as much as you can. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I would encourage you to make the most of every opportunity. I was lucky enough to stay in the capital of Argentina where there was plenty of things to do for free. I went to museums, concerts, parks, open air markets, and multiple other activities for free. Not everyone has the money to go on lots of trips while they’re abroad, I certainly did not. Not everything you do abroad has to be expensive and some of my favorites memories came from these spur of the moment adventures I took with my friends. My next piece of advice would be to stay with a host family if you’re going to a country that speaks a different language. I was blessed with an incredible host mom and I don’t know how I would have survived those six months without her. Not only was she amazing, but she truly enhanced my ability to speak Spanish. She knew little to no English so I was forced to use Spanish everywhere I went. This was exhausting at first, but it ended up being very beneficial.

View Abby's Photos on our Facebook page.

Hannah Brett

Hannah Brett

Study Abroad: Segovia, Spain
Major: Spanish K-12
Minor: English
When: Summer 2016

Why I Studied Abroad: My major is Spanish Education, so I want to teach Spanish at the High School or university level.  Studying in a Spanish-speaking country isn't a requirement for my program, but it is highly recommended to truly become fluent in a second language.  After hearing so many people tell me I should do it, I decided it would be worth the money for me.  Other than improving my Spanish, a reason I wanted to go abroad was to see a country I hadn't visited before. I had been to Peru and Mexico a few times while I was in high school (both were amazing experiences!), but I had never been to Europe, which is how I decided on Spain. 

Host Family Experience: I studied in Segovia through a GEO program.  GEO was helpful in getting me the information I needed before the study abroad, setting up my host family, and making everything very clear.  Luckily for me, my host parents were experienced in hosting students, and I was their 10th student from Michigan to live with them!  They provided all my meals, did my laundry, and included me in family get-togethers.  They had a room with a closet and its own bathroom all set up for me, and they have two young kids who were fun to practice my Spanish with.

Highlights: I traveled to Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, and Valencia on my weekends when we didn't have classes. I am so glad I took those trips, despite having to figure out public transportation, all the packing, and the staying in cheap hostels.  I definitely think making the most of every minute during your study abroad is important.  I kept reminding myself, "splurge and go see another city! This is a once in a lifetime experience." In fact, my one regret is that I didn't travel to bordering countries, France or Portugal while I was there and so close to them!  I was trying to save money, which was extremely important to me.  However, the experience of seeing a new country or a new city so unlike your own is unreal, and flights in within Europe are so cheap, it would've been doable.

Biggest Pieces of Advice: Be organized with your paperwork, and apply for scholarships!  I was able to win a GEO scholarship, the Patti Finnegan Sharff Award from OU, and one other outside scholarship.  It helped so much with the funding for my trip.  Apply early, and to a lot of different scholarships, because they're available and some people don't even try applying! Also, I kept a file with all of my study abroad information, applications, checklists, etc... It was helpful as I prepared for the trip, and I also took the file with me to Spain and kept my important documents like my passport and insurance info in there.  It will all work out and be so worth it once you are living and studying in your dream location! 

View Hannah’s photos on our Facebook page.