Using GPS on unpaved roads and on the back of 110cc motorcycles, 10 BYU students spent their summer locating and visiting 240 secondary schools in Uganda’s bush. Elsewhere, one BYU student studied leukemia in Ireland. Another BYU group performed—and endured a magnitude 7.9 earthquake—in China.
All are part of a growing trend in higher education: U.S. college students are studying abroad in record numbers, and BYU is one of the universities leading the throng. The Institute of International Education’s Open Doors 2007 report ranked BYU ninth in the nation for the number of short-term study abroad programs and 16th for sending the most students abroad.
“Business, engineering, dance, education, and other fields are finding an international experience to be advantageous for their students,” says Sandra Rogers (BS ’74), BYU’s international vice president. “My hope is that students who participate return with a greater appreciation for others around the world and a better basis for living and working.”
This summer, BYU Magazine invited students studying abroad to send postcards from their international locales. The result was postcards, pictures, and words from BYU students who are engaging their world.
For travel tips from students who studied all over the world last summer, visit more.byu.edu/postcards.
56 countries visited by BYU students last year
2,040 students studied, performed, or volunteered abroad last year
77 percent of BYU students speak a second language
15 international study programs offered through BYU’s Kennedy Center
62 percent increase in students studying abroad in the last 10 years, excluding BYU Jerusalem Center enrollment
17 percent of BYU students participate in a study abroad program before graduating
Wish You Were Here
What students fit on the back of a postcard.
Australia: Starla K. Aragon (’09)
Nursing study abroad
Differences between Provo and Geelong, Australia:
Lots of babies and children
“Heck” is almost a swear word
Everyone knows a Mormon, if they aren’t one already
Deer on campus is crazy and cool
Lots of worried and stressed students
Utah poof hair is common
Saw three babies total in a one-month period
Never heard of “heck,” and “hell” is not a swear word
Hardly anyone is a Mormon—we were the first ones they had ever met
Kangaroo on campus—“Eh, no biggie”
Everything is simply “No worries”
Mullet hair is common
Bolivia: Natalie Brooks (’11)
Public health internship
At the end of June, a line formed across the street from my clinic. All sorts of people—young, old, indigenous, families, teenagers—were waiting in this line that stretched down the block, around the corner, and down the next street. . . . These people were waiting in line to buy government-subsidized rice. In only four months the price of rice about doubled here. I had heard about the global food crisis and rising costs of food, but to witness it in person was surreal.
China: Nicholas S. Bruderer (’10)
Ballroom Dance Company tour
I had the most moving experience of my life: I watched the birth of my first child through a laptop and Web cam. After the birth I rejoined the team at a formal dinner hosted by the Yantai city officials. When the officials found out what had just happened, they ran over and sat me at the head of the table and began to fill my plate with food. They presented me with a gift for my daughter, a beautiful crystal doll that represents the fire of the Beijing Olympics. I will always remember the kindness of the Chinese people.
China: Mary O. Vance (’11)
Dance study abroad in China
At the time of the earthquake, my study abroad classmates and I were in Chengdu, 60 miles away from the epicenter. We were in the middle of our teaching methods class when the ground first shook. We all bolted to our classroom doorframe, hoping to receive some protection from the debris that would soon fall from the walls and ceilings. I’ve never had so many different thoughts run through my head as we crouched and huddled together as the earth ruthlessly shook underneath our feet. . . . All of a sudden, someone sang the first line to the Primary song “A Child’s Prayer.” Relieved to hear something of comfort, I joined in, and it was a chain reaction from there.
Germany: Jordan M. Cox (’09)
Physics research internship with the Max Born Institute
At my job, I work with not only Germans. My advisor is Danish, my other colleagues are Russian, Pakistani, Italian, and Liberian. My classmates come from France, Mongolia, Latvia, and Israel! My favorite part of each day is talking in depth with thoughtful, intelligent people from literally all over the world.
Great Britain: Carolyn M. Haynie (’10)
London study abroad
I turned the corner (in London’s National Gallery) and was completely amazed when I saw da Vinci’s cartoon The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and Saint John the Baptist. To see this work of genius up close and personal was such a spiritual experience . . . the depth and dimension da Vinci gave his subject was so lifelike yet positively ethereal!
Mexico: Jessica R. Hiatt (’10)
Service-learning study abroad
I volunteer at Instituto Helen Keller, a school for children with visual disabilities. Once a week we go swimming with them. Teaching blind kids to swim in a language I haven’t yet mastered is definitely challenging, but the experience is purely amazing.
Tajikistan: N. Kaitlyn Pieper (’09)
American Councils Persian language
program and BYU field study
Living in Dushane, Tajikistan, has taught me more about the joys of being a woman. Tajikistan has a strong tradition of families, and most Tajik women remain at home to raise their children. The Tajik women I have met here are at once vibrantly self-confident, gracious, and nurturing. Their faces radiate a calm tranquility that comes from living a life of service and goodness.
Uganda: Tali C. Whittermore (’08)
Field study in Ugandan schools
Attending church here in Uganda has been humbling and inspiring. The members are so new to the gospel—they are often the only ones in their family to join, and they do so notwithstanding great opposition. The Church will become very powerful with such members.