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Peer Advisers

The Office of Study Abroad has several Peer Advisers on staff that are MSU students who have already studied abroad. They are trained to help you become aware of the range of available opportunities abroad at MSU and are available online and for walk-in advising in our Advising Center.

Peer Advisers are more than happy to tell you about their experiences, answer your questions, and give you advice. They can help you find a program that suits your schedule, major and interests. They can guide you through the application process, answer questions about scholarships and financial aid, and offer a student perspective on the various aspects of being abroad and returning home.

CONTACT US!

Email: studyabroad@isp.msu.edu

Phone: (517) 353-8922

Skype: spartansabroad

Advising Center Hours: 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday

The Study Abroad Advising Center is located in room 108 of the International Center (427 N. Shaw Lane) and is staffed by Peer Adviser who can help students search for a program, check into financial aid and scholarships, work on a budget for going abroad, go through the application process, talk about how to prepare before departure, and share their personal experience!

Are you interested in going abroad, but don't know where to start? Attend an Education Abroad 101 session to learn more! Sessions are held daily to help guide you through the first steps.

  • Monday and Tuesday, 11:00 am
  • Wednesday and Thursday, 4:00 pm
  • Friday, 2:00 pm

LET US COME TO YOU!

Peer Advisers can provide you with a 15-20 minute presentation about study abroad at MSU followed by a short Q&A session.

We’d be happy to come to your residence hall at a convenient time and date (evening presentations are fine). Peer Advisers will provide an overview of the wide variety of study abroad opportunities, types of programs, finances, how to begin searching, and information on the application process.

To arrange a presentation, please contact Nick Schrader and include the following in your request:

  • Date
  • Location
  • Name, phone, and email of contact person
  • A brief description of the event or audience

Please schedule any presentations as least two weeks in advance.

WHO WE ARE!

Mikayla Demers

Hometown: Wichita Falls, Texas
Major: Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities
Study Abroad Programs:

  1. Freshman Seminar Abroad in New Zealand
  2. Independent Study in Spain

About Mikayla... Mikayla DeMers in a field in Spain. For my study I abroad I went on a Freshmen Seminar Abroad in New Zealand just before I started classes at Michigan State! This program gave me friends and an experience to last a life time. I had traveled abroad before, but this was the first time I did without my family and it really helped prepare me for my freshman year away from home. I learned all about animal conservation in New Zealand, dove deep into the indigenous Maori culture, and gained valuable skills on what professors expect from students in the classroom. This study abroad experience gave me the confidence I needed to go to Spain for the summer and participate in my own independent study while walking a pilgrimage. Working with the department and professor to make this independent study happen would have been so much more intimidating if I hadn't learned to be comfortable with my professors on the Freshman Seminar. Not only did I have the time of my life, but studying abroad has allowed me to have two minors as well as my major and also gives me room to explore more of the classes Michigan State has to offer.

Michael Keller

Hometown: Fowlerville, Michigan
Major: Applied Engineering Sciences (Minor in Spanish)
Study Abroad programs:

  1. Freshmen Seminar Abroad in New Zealand
  2. Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador
  3. Engineering Study Abroad in Turkey
  4. Marketing in China

About Michael... Michael Keller at ancient ruins in Turkey. Being able to study abroad on multiple occasions has been very rewarding and eye opening!

The Freshman Seminar really gave me the opportunity to broaden my horizons and meet new friends even before attending MSU. I was able to come into MSU with credits that I needed for graduation and being more open to new cultures.

Spending a whole semester abroad was a really difficult decision to make. Leaving friends and family for that long was tough but ended up being one of the best choices I've ever made. I was able to live with an Ecuadorian host family who was absolutely incredible and included me as a part of their family. From learning Spanish with my 5 year-old cousin to exploring the city with my 21 year-old sister, I got everything I could've ever needed to help me succeed in a foreign country! A semester-long program really allows for you to not only experience the culture but to become a part of that culture as well.

Studying for the summer in Turkey was an incredible time! I learned that even if you do not know the language, it does not mean that you cannot communicate. Immersing yourself in a new culture where you do not speak the language can be very difficult but even more rewarding. Taking engineering classes even helped to keep me on track to graduate on time! Educational excursions included in the program fee enabled us to see more of Turkey, experience more of the culture, and keep costs very manageable.

The study abroad program in China was very business focused. It was a great experience to be able to meet with the president of Amway China, the VP of sales and marketing at GM for all of Southeast Asia, the founders of a start up in Hong Kong called GoAnimate, and many other corporations. We were able to learn hands on by observing how these companies approach business/marketing in China compared to the USA. The world is becoming a lot more entwined and this was an invaluable experience in exposing me to these connections.

Erica Latack

Hometown: St. Joseph, Michigan
Majors: Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities and Spanish (Minor in International Development)
Study Abroad Program: Community Engagement in the Peruvian Andes

About Erica... Erica Latack with a llama in Peru. My study abroad program in Peru had it all: studying, exploring, interning, researching, learning, and eating (a lot). For the first five weeks of the program I lived in Cusco with a host family while studying Spanish at a local school where I met people from all over the world. The last six weeks of the program I lived in a small city called Huamachuco and really became part of the culture. Here I stayed with another host family who treated me as their own daughter, and I was an intern at a local pre-school where I helped teach English and conducted research on gender equality in early childhood development. With free afternoons, I volunteered at an organization where I traveled to different neighborhoods and tutored working children. Throughout my program I spent as much time exploring as I could. I swam along a river in the Amazon jungle, danced with locals on an island in Lake Titicaca, hiked at 3 A.M. through the Andes Mountains, learned how to surf in Lima, walked through the ruins at Machu Picchu, and so much more. I not only met people and a host family that I will be friends with for years to come, but I was able to learn so much about the culture and myself from my different experiences.

Scott Lyman

Hometown: DeWitt, Michigan
Major: Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy (JMC)
Study Abroad Programs:

  1. Freshman Seminar Abroad in Ireland
  2. The U.S. and WWII Europe: Memory and Memorials

About Scott... Scott Lyman at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. On my Freshman Seminar to Ireland, I was afforded the opportunity to learn extensively about Irish history and political system before I started my freshman year at MSU. The best thing about my program to the Emerald Isle was being able to live my learning experience. Learning about the 1916 Easter Rising while standing where it happened is an experience you cannot get in a classroom in East Lansing. Traveling all around Ireland allowed us to really get a sense on Furthermore, I was able to establish a group of friends before I stepped foot on campus. Some of my current best friends I met while in Ireland.

My second study abroad program led me to the United Kingdom where I studied World War II. On this program, we were able to heavily engage with the British about their experiences and their memories of the Second World War. We got the chance to speak with a woman who lived in London during the Blitz and a man who used to spy on German officers! Many of my preconceptions about World War II were challenged because I had never gotten the opportunity to learn about this period in history hands-on. Nothing can compare to this type of immersive learning experience I had while in the United Kingdom!

Jill Nelson

Hometown: Rockford, Michigan
Major: Nutritional Sciences (Minors in Spanish and Health Promotion)
Study Abroad Programs:

  1. Spanish Language, Literature, and Culture in Santander, Spain
  2. National Expedition and Internship in New Zealand

About Jill... Jill Nelson with Maori people in New Zealand. One of the main reasons I chose to come to Michigan State was for its study abroad opportunities. I knew that taking courses in another culture was something I was going to do at some point; what I didn't know was how much of an impact it would leave on me – twice! My first study abroad was in Spain to earn some Spanish classes for my minor. I stayed with a host family and took three classes with Spanish professors at a local university. In our free time and on weekends, we were able to travel around the rest of the country, so I left with a greater understanding of the regional differences in culture that Spain has. After spending every morning chatting with my 'madre' at breakfast, going to small discussion-based Spanish classes, exploring the city after class, and speaking with locals, my understanding of the language and the culture had expanded immensely by the time I left.

My second experience was in New Zealand. This was more of a two-part program – the first half was spent traveling the country by bus and studying the main agricultural sector of each region. We toured sheep farms, dairy farms, and wineries and talked with local farmers about their daily lives and impressions of farm culture in New Zealand. During the second half, I was able to intern with New Zealand's largest apple-producing companies, Mr. Apple. This was unique because I was able to not only study the culture, but as an intern I was able to take part in the culture by being a part of a New Zealand company. To top it off, on weekends, our group spent our time soaking in the scenery of New Zealand – we hiked mountains (or "tramping" as they call it), went skydiving, and relaxed in geothermal hot pools.

There's no better way to learn about a topic than by experiencing it in a cultural context. Study abroad gave me a hands-on view of the subjects I was studying, which is an experience that the average lecture hall just can't measure up to.

Rose Palmiter

Hometown: Portland, Michigan
Major: Communication
Study Abroad Program: Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador

About Rose... Rose Palmiter looking over the city of Quito in Ecuador. I studied abroad at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador for one semester and learned more in that short time than I had ever dreamed possible. I lived with a host family and attended classes with Ecuadorian students and professors which gave me total emersion into the culture and made me feel like I was at home, not a tourist visiting the country. Weekends offered plenty of time to travel and see the country with other American students. I went on the adventures of a lifetime including bungee jumping, horseback riding, swimming down a river in the Amazon Rain Forest, repelling down waterfalls, beautiful mountain hikes, and mountain biking down the volcano that overlooks Quito. Even more influential than the adrenaline fueled adventures I had on the weekends were the times I was able to share meals and stories with indigenous families I met on my travels, celebrate Ecuadorian holidays with my host family, and the friendships I formed with people I would have never met if I hadn't taken a chance and studied abroad.

Krista Stites

Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Majors: Environmental Studies and Sustainability; Zoology
Study Abroad Program: Sustainable Food, Environment and Social Systems in Australia

About Krista... Krista Stites with a koala in Australia. Studying abroad in Australia was easily one of the best experiences of my life. I am a huge advocate for the environment and my program focused heavily on learning about sustainable systems and new ideas in Australia. From meeting Australian Aboriginals to getting hands on experience with preserving the Daintree rain forest we truly did it all. My program had us travel in more than 6 different cities across Australia, this gave us a variety of people to meet and new experiences to be had. This challenged me to think about the differences between the U.S. and Australia and also the similarities between the two. I learned more about myself and all that I wanted to accomplish with my career in environmental and wildlife conservation. I encourage anyone and everyone to study abroad! You will not regret it!

Keir Thomas

Hometown: Harper Woods, Michigan
Special Education (Learning Disabilities Program)
Study Abroad Programs:

  1. Freshman Seminar in Japan
  2. Learning, Technology and Culture in Europe

About Keir... Keir Thomas on a roof in the Netherlands. My name is Keir Thomas and I'm just an average kid that has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities to travel abroad and meet countless people who I can now call my family along my journeys. Years ago when I was young I could have never guessed that I would leave the country, let alone travel the world with complete strangers from the university. My major is Special Education, which means I have a deep passion for helping people that may not have the means or capability to help themselves. Through traveling I have developed a passion as well as a growing curiosity when it comes to what people do and why they do it. I hope these experiences will help me answer some of the many questions I have about the world we live in, and I hope to record my results and thoughts on this website. Please enjoy and remember, "The grass isn't always greener on the other side, its greener wherever you water it."

Abby von Allmen

Hometown: Bryan, Ohio
Major: Arts and Humanities
Study Abroad Programs:

  1. Freshmen Seminar Abroad in New Zealand
  2. Nature Culture and Environmental Sustainability in Israel
  3. Ethics of Sustainable Development and Tourism in Costa Rica

About Abby... Abby von Allmen by the shore in New Zealand. I have had the amazing opportunity to embark on three adventures abroad through Michigan State University. Each one has lead me to new landscapes and built upon my understanding of the world and myself.

My study abroad to New Zealand occurred the summer before my freshman year and it was a time of immense growth. This allowed me to enter my freshmen year confident and prepared for my new academic and social life.

The time I spent in Israel was truly life changing. I experienced a completely foreign culture and learned of the history of the country as well as the present challenges they face politically, socially and environmentally. Not only did this new knowledge and perspective help me become an educated global citizen but it informed my decision to study environmental issues.

The two months I spent in Costa Rica was one of the most challenging and enriching things I have ever done. While there, I stayed with two different host families that spoke no English. I came to the country with little Spanish experience and at first, struggled communicating and connecting with people. I persevered, increased my Spanish ability and learned to laugh at myself when needed. By the end of my stay, Costa Rica felt like my home and I became extremely close with my families. I attended birthday parties, Zumba classes and community meetings as well as helped out on the family farm, cook dinner and even held meaningful conversations in Spanish. It is impossible to put into words all that I experienced and learned during my time in Costa Rica but I will never forget the people I met and the hospitality they showed me.

BE ONE OF US!

  • Did your Study Abroad experience make you want to encourage others to do the same?
  • Do you feel passionate about the personal and educational benefits of studying, living and traveling abroad?
  • Are you the kind of person who likes to mentor others?
  • Do you enjoy public speaking?
  • Are you capable of professionally representing one of the largest study abroad offices in the country?

If so, then perhaps you would like to apply for a Peer Adviser position!

OSA employs MSU students who have already studied abroad to work in our office providing study abroad advising. During the week, Peer Advisers (PA’s) work in our Advising Center answering questions for students (and parents) who are interested in studying abroad. In addition, PA’s assist program leaders at information meetings and give presentations to audiences interested in study abroad opportunities. They also staff campus-wide events such as Welcome Week, Inside MSU, Green and White Days, Marathon of Majors, and of course, the Study Abroad Fair!

Some of our Peer Advisers have even appeared in local, regional and national television and radio ads. Others are featured in our State News print ads promoting study abroad.

If this sounds interesting to you, complete an application (PDF)*. Deadline dates are listed on the application.

All applicants must be a registered student at MSU, have participated in a university‐level, credit‐bearing study abroad program, have strong communication and public speaking skills and possess computer skills including, but not limited to, word processing, e‐mail, spreadsheets, and social media. A minimum of 10 hours is expected of all Peer Advisers per week.

There are many benefits of becoming a Peer Adviser:

  • Improved communication and public speaking skills
  • Team‐building skills
  • Greater self‐awareness/knowledge
  • Increased problem‐solving and critical thinking abilities
  • Opportunities to share enthusiasm for international education and experiences abroad
  • Leadership and management experience
  • A professional network of international educators, organizations and institutions
  • A chance to network and work collaboratively with colleges, departments and units across campus

Turn in your application (PDF)* today!

*Adobe Acrobat Reader Opens in new window is required to read PDF documents.