A Spartan's journey in China: learning outside of the classroom

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Close to 3,000 Spartans participate in education abroad each year. They take classes, conduct research, get involved in the local community, and participate in internships all over the world while earning credit toward graduation.

Alaunie Smiley is one such Spartan expanding her wings to explore and experience China. Alaunie, a zoology major and Chinese minor, is participating in a Chinese language program in Harbin, China. The courses she takes in China will allow her to complete her minor and give her real world use of her Chinese language skills.

This program will also allow to her to experience life with locals and to visit unique sites in the area.

“I am most excited about the home stay experience that we get to be a part of with a host family. I am also excited for the tiger sanctuary field trip that is a part of the program.”

Although many students think they can’t afford this type of education abroad experience, the majority of participants receive some form of financial assistance. Alaunie was awarded a highly competitive National scholarship called a *Freeman-ASIA, which helped to offset the overall cost of the program. 

“Receiving this award allowed me to feel more comfortable going on this trip. The cost of study abroad exceeds how much I received in scholarships so the Freeman Asia scholarship allowed me to take out less loans than expected.”

If you would like to make education abroad a part of your MSU experience, come to the Education Abroad Advising Center (108 International Center) or visit the EA website to begin your journey.  Planning ahead is important to make the most of financial aid opportunities and ensure the courses you take integrate into your degree requirements.

* The Freeman-ASIA program is designed to support U.S.-based undergraduates with demonstrated financial need who are planning to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia. The program’s goal is to increase the number of U.S. citizens and permanent residents with first-hand exposure to and understanding of Asia and its peoples and cultures.