International Education
O'Dowd Hall, Room 328
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(248) 370-2889

Alex Zimmerman, Director
(248) 370-2843

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Fall Walk-in advising hours*

Monday,   noon - 1 p.m.
Tuesday1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
                 3 - 4 p.m.
Wednesday,  noon - 1 p.m.
Thursday,   4 - 5 p.m.
Friday,       2:30 - 3:30 p.m.
In 328 O'Dowd Hall 

No appointment required.

Check back often for new days and times.

* 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!

Alex Pieters 
Study abroad: New Zealand
 Pre-Physical Therapy
When: Fall 2012

On choosing the youngest country in the world: Every other country in the world was discovered before any human laid foot in New Zealand. The country is inhabited by only 5 million people today, approximately half the population of Michigan. Because of its young history and relatively small population, New Zealand has remained an untouched sanctuary for nature enthusiasts. Being an outdoorsy individual, the pristine and beautiful country of New Zealand was the perfect fit for me.

Highlights of New Zealand: I stayed in a flat on the University of Otago campus and lived with two Kiwis and three Americans. We had several great experiences: attending rugby games; shopping at local farmers markets; learning and understanding the Maori culture; biking and running with the locals; skydiving in Queenstown; climbing Mt. Taranaki; running the annual Moro marathon in Dunedin; and traveling to Milford Sound with my mom.

Favorite class: New Zealand Literature because I was able to dive into the history of a burgeoning country that possesses a rich and vibrant past. I had the opportunity to peruse texts written by Katherine Mansfield, Robin Hyde and Janet Frame. I learned how New Zealand is characterized as a “settler nation,” colonized by Great Britain and inhabited by the native Maori — this social interaction still underpins its society today.

Best part about studying abroad: Getting to know the locals. The Kiwis generally have a great perspective on life, which balances fun, enjoyment and relationships — things I believe Americans sometimes place as secondary to personal success, ambition and achievement. The hospitality and friendliness the locals exhibited made me feel at home, even when I was so far away from it. I am so grateful and appreciative to them.

View Alex's photos on our Facebook page!

Holly Cavanaugh 
Study abroad: Argentina
 International Relations & Spanish Language
When: Fall 2014

Why Argnetina?: I chose Argentina because as a Spanish major I wanted to go to a Spanish speaking country. Argentina has a little taste of everything: beautiful cities, mountains,  glaciers, and much more. From the second I arrived I knew I had made the right choice. The people were so welcoming, that it made the overwhelming feeling of traveling to some unknown land much easier for me.

Favorite times: Study abroad gave me a chance to do what I have always wanted, and that is to travel and see more of what this this huge planet has to offer. My courses and schedule allowed me to travel during my weekends. Not to mention Argentina has national holidays all the time so I often had long weekends. I used this time to visit Igazu falls, Buenos Aires, and Montevideo. The times I wasn't traveling I was completely immersed in this beautiful culture back in Rosario.

My Recommendations: Study abroad ws truly the most incredible and unforgettable experience of my life. There is a program out there that suits everyone. I believe travel really does broaden the mind. I experienced this first hand. I came back musch more outgoing, adventurous, positive person because I was able to see different cultures, meet new interesting people, live as a foreigner, travel alone and was constantly pushed out of my comfort zone. My recommendation to anyone comtemplating study abroad would be to just do it! There is no time like the present.

Chau! Come see me!

View Holly's photos on our Facebook page!

Jessica Griffiths 
Study away: Hawai'i
When: Winter 2014

The best part of studying away: Studying away allowed me to experience a new place in a unique way. To see a place while on a vacation only scratches the surface of what an area has to offer. With the NSE program I was able to see the area as a local. I lived and breathed the culture and the history. Hawai'i especially intrigued me because the culture and history are extremely rich and colorful, and it was like being in another country.

HIghlights of Hawai'i: NO SNOW! Unless you happen to stumble on up to Mauna Kea (technically the tallest mountain the the world), the you could find snow. Snorkeling in Hawai'i was probably my favorite part of the whole experience. The bright corals and colorful fish and sea life were like nothing I had ever seen before. The warm salty air and green vegetation was a nice change from our typical Michigan winters. The food in Hawai'i surprised me the most. I had no idea, even having been to Hawai'i previously, that the food was so completely different from what we experience here. Lau Lau is a Hawaiian favorite and staple, it is kaulua pork and fish wrapped in kia leaves, then wrapped again in banana leaf. These tasty morsels are made in bulk and then buried under smoldering ash and volcanic rocks and cooked overnight.

View Jessica's photos on our Facebook page!

Louise Haven 
Study abroad: Israel & England
 Anthropology & Biology
When: June/July 2012, 2013, 2014

I have been lucky enough to have studies abroad three times: I have been to Israel during the summers of 2013 and 2014 with the Archaeology in Israel program, and to England in the summer of 2013 as a part of the British Studies at Oxford Program.

Amazing archaeology programs: I was digging at Khirbet Qeiyafa in 2012 and at Lachish in 2014. I was able to learn so much about archaeology by working on digs at two different sites, it was hard work but it was so worth it. Aside from the time spent at the dig, I visited many places of archaeological and historical important - cities including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Akko, Tiberias, Ein Gedi and sites such as Masada, Meggido, Beit Alpha, Beit She'an, Capernaum, and many more. I have even gone swimming the Mediterranean Sea, dipped my feet into the Sea of Galilee, and floated in the Dead Sea!

Absolute favorite place: the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve located on the edge of the Judean desert and on the coast of the Dead Sea. It was a whole new world in comparison to the desert surrounding the park. There was a great diversity of plant and animal life, and the cutest little animals called hyraxes. There were several waterfalls and you could swim in the pools underneath them! Of all the falls, David's Waterfall was the most stunning. We hiked up Mount Yishai to the Chalcolithic temple near the top, and the view of the Dead Sea from there was absolutely breathtaking! This was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen-words can't even do it justice.

Most magical: For the British Studies program, I lived on campus at Brasenose College, right in the middle of the city near all the most iconic buildings like the Radcliffe Camera, Bodleian Library, and the Sheldonian Theatre. While I was there I studied Medieval Literature, and I fell in completely in love with Oxford - from its beautiful colleges to the incredible museums and historical pubs. Really just about everything was absolutely magical. I visited many different places in London, and I also went to Bath, Avebury, Stonehenge, Blenheim Palace, Stratford-upon-Avon, and even took a day to visit family in Rugby. My favorite experience would have to be seeing A midsummer Night's Dream at the Globe Theatre in London - I love seeing Shakespeare's plays and for this one I got to stand right next to the stage!  Punting on the Cherwell was also a very memorable experience, though I was not at all good at it! After the program, I traveled to Paris, Rome, and Barcelona.

Advice for students: I highly recommend studying abroad; it is an experience that can benefit everyone. You gain a lot of knowledge in the classroom, but you also learn a lot just by exploring and experiencing different things. Studying abroad allows you to grow as both a person and as a global citizen. You don't just visit a different culture, you live it. For me personally, the benefits of studying abroad are innumerable - I've become much more confident in myself, more independent, more understanding, and certainly much more eager to travel!! If you have the time and means to do so, definitely study abroad. I promise that you will not regret it!

View Louise's photos on our Facebook page!

Brie McGrath 
Study abroad: Segovia, Spain
 Spanish K - 12
When: Summer 2014

Segovia is a great place to study abroad! The locals are very nice and the city is beautiful!

Most valuable experience from studying abroad: I was able to improve my Spanish speaking skills while also learning about Spain and its culture. My home stay experience forced me to speak Spanish which ultimately improved by speaking skills.

One best thing about my time in Segovia: I learned so much about the language and the culture. While I was in Spain, I was able to see the festivals of San Juan and San Pedro in Segovia which lasted for two weeks. Every night during the two weeks, people would gather in the town square to listen to concerts, watch dancers, or participate in traditions such as burning papers with the bad things that happened to you in the year in order to bring good luck. It was such an amazing experience! 

View Brie's photos on our Facebook page!

Dan Gildner 
Study abroad: Segovia, Spain
 Psychology and Spanish
When: Summer 2014

Best part of studying abroad: Traveling to all parts of Spain with my colleagues! During the weekends we traveled to Santiago, La Coruna, Madrid, Salamanca, and I of course ventured through Segovia. It's difficult to pinpoint a specific experience that was the highlight of my trip because there were so many meaningful memories, but the friends I made abroad definitely made the experience.

Most interesting experience while in Spain: From eating octopus and drinking Sangria to mistakenly ordering a lemon shot and a chocolate dessert are just a few of my interesting experiences. Also, the first week that I arrived in Segovia, the whole town was out celebrating in honor of their patron Saints and to this day, I have never seen an entire city out during the early morning hours. In Segovia, it's common to stay out until 3 or 4 a.m. during festivals.

Advice for students: This past summer was by far the coolest thing that I have ever done in my life and I can't wait to go back to visit with my host family and the friends that I have in Segovia. If you get the chance be sure to study abroad because, like my experience, it will be something you remember for the rest of your life. I can't recommend our study abroad programs enough both for educational and emotional growth.  

View Dan's photos on our Facebook page!

Jackie Spezia 
Study abroad: Oviedo, Spain
Major: Spanish Language and Literature
When: Spring 2012

Oviedo is a wonderful city for Spanish majors, such as myself, and others looking to be immersed in the Spanish language and culture. Very few people speak English in Oviedo, including the host family I lived with. I loved living with a host family that didn't speak English because it forced me to use and improve my Spanish speaking skills. Upon my return to OU all of my professors noticed and commented on the improvement they noticed in my accent and speaking ability. 

One of the best things about my time abroad was the conversation partner program I participated in. I met twice a week with an Oviedo native, Camino, who was trying to learn English. We would speak in English one day and in Spanish the other, so that we could each practice. We talked about everything: the differences between our cultures, the difficulties of learning each other’s language, our families, our love-lives, you name it. At the end of my 5 month stay it was hard to say goodbye as we had become such close friends. But thanks to modern technology we stay in touch through Facebook. 

During my time in Oviedo I had the opportunity to travel around Spain and parts of Western Europe. Once you are in Europe it is very cheap to travel around. A flight from Spain to France is around $40! During my Spring Break I traveled to France and Italy with two other students from the AHA program. We visited the Coliseum in Rome, St. Mark's square in Venice, and the Louvre in Paris, just to name a few. It was amazing trip that I will never forget. 

If I could give any advice to students thinking about studying abroad it would be - go for it! I know the dollar amounts and paper work can seem overwhelming at times but just relax and know that no matter what, the experience will be worth it. 

View Jackie's photos on our Facebook page!

Patrick Ruehle 
Study Abroad: London, England
 Communications  Minor: Broadcasting
When: Summer 2014

Best part about my time abroad: It's hard for me to pick one experience that would be my favorite while studying abroad. My entire time in London was such an amazing experience that my entire time abroad would be my favorite experience. If I had to pick one experience, as a huge Harry Potter fan, I would probably pick touring the Warner. Bros. Harry Potter studio.

My most interesting experience: Living in a different country is definitely an interesting experience in itself. Getting used to the social norms and cultures abroad is very interesting.  Probably the most interesting thing about studying abroad was that going to England I wasn't expecting there to be too much of a culture shock going from America and life in England (mainly because they speak English) and because they have a lot of the same restaurants and stores as we do. What was very interesting was how different life was in England compared to America. The British way of life is a lot different than the way we live here in United States. 

View Patrick's photos on our Facebook page!

Desirea Tibaudo 
Study abroad: Japan
When: May 2013

Highlights of Japan: While we were in Kyoto, we visited myriad shrines and temples. Afterword, we took the Shinkansen, otherwise known as the bullet train, to Tokyo. On the train, I was able to see Mt. Fiji in the distance. In Tokyo, I went to the Ueno zoo, which is best known for its two captive pandas, Lili and Shinshin. We even were able to see sumo wrestlers in a series of “bouts” or matches. 

Favorite food: In Japan, they are very fond of ice cream. I was able to try a bunch of different flavors that would be considered outside the norm in the United States. For instance, black sesame, green tea, red bean and sakura (cherry blossom) ice cream. Red bean is my new favorite flavor! 

Favorite thing about Japan: The Fushimi Inari Shrine or the Fox Shrine. The red tori were striking and the mountain was beautiful. At the top I was able to see the entire city and the symbols engraved into the other mountains. I also enjoyed visiting Akihabara, known as the anime and gaming district in Tokyo. 

Advice for students: Bring a coin purse of some sort. When you get change it will most likely be as a coin. Also 7/11 is the store to shop! It has all the snacks you could need for your trip and can be found on almost every street. Japan is my favorite country that I have ever traveled to and I would highly encourage students to visit if given the opportunity.

View Desirae's photos on our Facebook page!

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
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.

Megan Tack

Megan Tack
Study abroad: Oviedo, Spain
 Operations Management and Human Resources Management
When: Winter 2016

Why Oviedo, Spain? When I first started studying Spanish, I realized that the more I learned about the language, the more I wanted to explore the culture!  Because of that, I really wanted my study abroad experience to be in a city that didn’t have very much tourism, and where I would be able to only speak Spanish. Oviedo was perfect! Not only was it ideal for language immersion, it is an absolutely beautiful city in the northern Austurian region of Spain. It’s large enough to offer the excitement of both the city and the quieter surrounding mountain farms, and small enough that I was able to feel like I could make it my home. For me, there wasn’t a better place to study abroad!

The best part about studying abroad: The best parts of study abroad were definitely the people I met and the places I visited. By studying in Oviedo, I got to work with students from around the world, and practice Spanish with my new friends from Japan, Belgium, and China. It was incredible to get to meet amazing individuals from so many different countries! By studying abroad, I also had the opportunity to travel everywhere with my friends. Some of my favorite memories are of weekend trips to everywhere from Paris, France, to Santorini, Greece.

Why I would study abroad again (and why you should go!): When I studied abroad I knew that I would improve my Spanish, and I hoped that I would meet new people and get to travel. However, I could never have anticipated all of the wonderful experiences I would have! I got to volunteer at a nearby elementary school, celebrate in the local festivals and parades, and even participate in the ninth annual “Pinchos and Tapas Competition” with my Spanish friends from the region. It’s all of these remarkable and unanticipated experiences that helped make Oviedo my home for the semester, and they’re also the reason I recommend everyone should study abroad!

My study abroad blog is:

View Megan’s photos on our Facebook page.

Alyssa Pouliot

Alyssa Pouliot
Study abroad: Oxford, England
 Secondary Education English Major, History Minor, American Studies Concentration
When: Winter 2016

Why study abroad? Studying abroad was something I used to dream of, but the reality always seemed so far away. Living abroad in an unfamiliar place with an unfamiliar culture is a scary thought. I convinced myself I couldn't do it until my sophomore year at OU, when I found myself inspired by the world around me and how big it truly is. The only thing stopping me from seeing the world was my mindset; how beautiful it is that in this day and age, we can visit anywhere, study anywhere, live anywhere! The first step is to set aside your fears, and recognize that the opportunity is truly unparalleled. Studying abroad was the greatest decision I have made in my young adult life, and I can't wait to help you experience the same!

"Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer." -Unknown

Why Oxford? In the United States, the UK and British culture has remained an integral part of the humanities curriculum taught to students. From the many connections in history, to all of the British authors, playwrights, poets, artists, and musicians that have and still continue to influence American culture, not to mention the shared language, one might assume they have been more than adequately exposed to all things "British." While I won't deny that England appears less exotic than other places in the world because of this, it is what makes the United States and the UK different that makes England such an engaging, worthwhile country to study abroad in. Oxford, in particular, is quite special. As a town, Oxford is steeped in history and culture, and, of course, is home to one of the most unrivaled academic communities in the world. The second-longest surviving university, the esteemed University of Oxford, was established in the early Middle Ages. It is an institution that miraculously still encapsulates the wonders and magic of medieval times while still remaining a progressive and elite learning establishment. A small, scenic town only an hour away from the hustle and bustle of London, Oxford is an awe-inspiring testament to the preservation of sentiment, education, and time.

My favorite part: The British Studies at Oxford program is a faculty-led program through Oakland University. You travel, live, eat, and study with those in the program with you, including the Oakland and Oxford professors. The group is relatively small, with 10-15 people maximum, and this is what made it so special. The friendships I made during the four-week stay, from both the United States and UK alike, are truly one-of-a-kind. I am so blessed to have experienced all I did while I was abroad, but what made it life-changing were the people I was able to share my adventures with. Studying abroad allows for more than just a shallow tourist experience- you make a life where you stay, and my life at Oxford was enchanting.

My advice: Go! Don't hesitate, now is the time! And once you've decided to take advantage of this amazing opportunity, make sure to pack light, bring walking shoes, buy a good camera, and keep an open mind!

View Alyssa’s photos on our Facebook page.

Natalia Boyko

Natalia Boyko

Study abroad: Segovia, Spain
 International Relations
When: Winter 2016

Activities: The faculty at GEO’s program in Segovia emphasizes the value of communicating with locals and experiencing the culture first-hand. Therefore, there are many immersion opportunities provided. We participated in language exchange with Segovian students at the Academy of Artillery and the University of Valladolid in Segovia. You will also meet many international students from all around Europe and the rest of the world studying at the prestigious IE University in Segovia. There is an opportunity to complete an internship at the non-governmental organization Caritas, the Alcázar (castle) of Segovia, tourism center, artisan shop, English language school and more.

Travel: All regions of Spain vary in customs, dialects, architecture, climate, gastronomy and geography. I traveled on the weekends with classmates to different Spanish cities, such as Sevilla, Valencia, Madrid, Toledo, and Málaga and to the island of Tenerife to experience this rich diversity. Classes were held from Mondays to Thursdays and there were five excursions on Fridays to nearby towns and cities, along with a weekend trip to Córdoba and Granada in the south of Spain.

My advice: Reach out to locals and participate in every celebration possible. There is no better way to experience and learn the language and culture than by taking these steps that may initially seem intimidating. The relationships you develop and the support you receive from the host family, faculty, students, and locals will be present with you even after you leave Spain. Also, many students worry about the costs of studying abroad. However, there are many scholarships offered by OU, the specific study abroad programs, and other public and private funds. Only a small fraction of my study abroad costs were paid for out of pocket. Studying abroad is one of the most important investments for students. They return completely transformed, full of energy and confidence, and filled with new ideas, views and aspirations.

View Natalia's photos on our Facebook page.

Nusrat Jahan

Seoul Adviser
Study abroad: Seoul, South Korea
International Relations, History Minor
When: Fall 2016

Why and Where?: I was first introduced to South Korea by Korean dramas and Korean pop music. Over time my interest in Korean entertainment became an inspiration to learn the language, spurring a genuine desire to learn about the country’s history, culture and traditions. One topic that particularly intrigued me was the relationship between North and South Korea. This interest in international relations played a tremendous role in my life, specifically when it was time to choose a major which eventually led to my desire to study in Korea. While I knew I wanted to study abroad during high school, it took a while to get the process started. After planning I finally decided to take the plunge and study abroad in South Korean during the 2016 fall semester!

During: While abroad, I was able to experience so many aspects of Korean culture. The program I was in had multiple excursions planned throughout the semester. Some of the excursions consisted of traveling to various parts of Korea, hiking up to a Buddhist temple where we were able to witness a ritual being performed, visiting the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and visiting monuments. I attended Yonsei University, where I took an intensive language course and I was able to fulfill one of my long term goals, reading and speaking Korean.

My Advice: There are a lot of components that go into applying for study abroad, do not let this discourage you! When I started the process I was overwhelmed. There was a lot of paperwork, and I also had to think about how to finance my study abroad experience. However, with help from family, friends, professors and the study abroad office, I was able to overcome all of these obstacles. During this process, I learned a lot about studying abroad and about myself. I strongly encourage everyone to take the opportunity and make the most it. This experience has given me valuable insight into a whole different culture. I was able to meet a lot of amazing people from different parts of the world, try the cuisine, learn the language and valuable skills that I will use throughout my life. My time and the memories I made in Korea is something I will never forget and will truly cherish.

For more about my study abroad experience visit here, or view my Facebook photos here!