More than 150 years ago, MSU was founded as the first land-grant institution in the country, created as an example for other land-grant colleges that later would be established in the United States.
Now, the institution has made a commitment to spreading its educational prowess across the world, re-establishing itself as a world-grant university that sends its students to all seven continents for study abroad and internship opportunities.
For the eighth year in a row, MSU sent more students on study abroad trips than any other public institution, taking second overall to New York University.
Omari Sankofa II
And although many of these study abroad opportunities are based on gaining educational experience for students, many have provided students with a chance to aid in humanitarian efforts. MSU has created a strong presence in Africa, helping develop different African education and research initiatives and creating strong partnerships with African universities so that students from both schools can collaborate on research opportunities. MSU even was instrumental in helping found the University of Nigeria at Nsukka, creating the first U.S. land-grant-type university in Africa more than 50 years ago.
MSU had established a strong global presence decades ago, but President Lou Anna K. Simon has made it a priority to continue growing this reputation, and MSU has a stronger global presence now than ever before.
It is important in an age of increasing globalization and technological advances that students earn an education that allows them to gain different perspectives and experience new cultures that might be different from those they are used to. MSU knew the world was becoming more interconnected and globalized decades ago, starting research opportunities abroad before doing so was popular.
Now, more universities are following the trend and creating study abroad opportunities for their students, but because MSU established its presence abroad earlier than most, it has a greater variety and stronger programs than virtually any other university.
Africa presents a vital study and research opportunity for many students and allows many to get involved in humanitarian efforts to help combat some of the continent’s most dire issues. Students from MSU are able to take what they learned to the continent and on other study abroad opportunities, but nothing provides more valuable lessons than gaining hands-on experience.
Classrooms can help teach theories and ideas, but utilizing study abroad opportunities provides students with an experience that actually shows them world problems firsthand. It allows students to meet other students who might be experiencing those problems, helping these students from both countries create relationships and learn different perspectives, providing them with a more cosmopolitan education.
MSU should be proud of the global reputation it has built. Decades of travel for research and educational experience have helped MSU graduates gain a more well-rounded college experience. Although many already have taken advantage of study abroad opportunities provided by the university, those who have yet to go abroad seriously should consider doing so before they finish their studies.