study abroad Archives - Center for Global Engagement

study abroad

TU develops new partnership with Hanoi University in Vietnam

The University of Tulsa signed a global partnership agreement with Hanoi University in Vietnam last week in Princeton, N.J.

a delegation of educators from Vietnam pose for a group photo during the education forum

The memorandum of understanding expands opportunities for TU students to experience Vietnam through short-term and semester-long programs at Hanoi University. It also allows the universities to explore international joint degree programs in business and technology-related areas.

“This is an exciting opportunity for TU,” said Vivian Wang, vice provost for global engagement. “It opens exciting opportunities for our students to study at one of the top institutions in Vietnam and attracts top-notch international talent to Tulsa.”

The MOU was signed during the first US-Vietnam Education Forum, organized by ETS and the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training (MOET). Hanoi University President Nguyen Van Tao signed the agreement on behalf of his institution. Leadership from the Vietnamese MOET, ETS and USAID also participated in the signing.

Hanoi University is a comprehensive public institution formed in 1959. It is known for its well-established English-medium international curriculums and academic excellence in foreign language studies and applied sciences programs. Hanoi University attracts more than 700 international students from around the world with an overall enrollment of 12,000. Vietnam is currently the sixth largest source of foreign students to the United States.

To learn more about TU’s commitment to internationalization and global engagement, please visit

JumpstartTU wins IIE Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation

The University of Tulsa’s JumpstartTU program has been recognized by the Institute of International Education (IIE) with the annual Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education. TU was honored Jan. 27 at the January meeting of the IIE Board of Trustees. JumpstartTU and the other programs that received the prestigious award are at the forefront of developing new models to build international partnerships, internationalize campuses and promote study abroad. The awards recognize the most outstanding initiatives among the member campuses of the IIE Network, IIE’s membership association of more than 1,300 higher education institutions.

TU and the other winning universities will receive a cash award of $1,000 and a certificate from IIE’s president. Representatives from those institutions will make presentations to the board that highlight their programs and promote best practices, and participate in a conversation about the future of international education.

The four winners and three honorable mentions represent the broad diversity of higher education institutions in the IIE Network. They include a community college and major research universities and institutions from Pennsylvania to the South Island of New Zealand. The programs these institutions run take their students all over the world and bring international issues to campus. They demonstrate the important work being done to prepare students for a competitive labor market that prizes the ability to work across cultures and encourage them to develop a better sense of their own roles as global citizens. IIE’s core mission is to advance scholarship, build economies, and promote access to opportunities; we are aided in this by our close partnerships with like-minded institutions like this year’s Andrew Heiskell Award honorees.

Andrew Heiskell AwardTU is the winner of the study abroad category. JumpstartTU is a one-week experiential trip the summer before a student’s freshmen year that blends learning about another country and culture with field experience alongside local partners in Panama to discover global issues in an international context. Students who have attended JumpstartTU report having a cohort of friends before beginning TU, stronger confidence that they will succeed and an enhanced view of the world in which we live. Faculty and staff team leaders are inspired by the program, interact with the students at a deeper level and return to campus with energy to look at their work differently with enhanced global perspectives.

IIE Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education Winners

Internationalizing the Campus
Winner: Rice University, Brasil@Rice
Honorable Mention: Texas A&M International University, Reading the Globe

Internationalizing the Community College Campus
Winner: Harper College, The Global Region of Focus Initiative

Winner: Lehigh University, Lehigh University / United Nations Partnership
Honorable Mention: Kansas State University, The Australian Initiative and Oz-to-Oz Program

andrew heiskell awardStudy Abroad
Winner: TU, JumpstartTU
Honorable Mention: University of Otago, Tūrangawaewae, Pōkai Whenua

About the Institute of International Education
The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the leader in providing international education strategies and program services. We work with policymakers, educators and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. With support from donors, we also create initiatives that protect students and scholars in danger, expand teaching and learning across cultures, and provide opportunities to underserved populations. A not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 18 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,300 member institutions.

IES Abroad Ambassador of the Year

Congratulations to Cheyenne Freelove on being selected as an IES Abroad Ambassador of the Year, an honor given to only two returnee students every year. Cheyenne is a senior finance major at TU and a Peer Advisor for the Center for Global Education.

“As soon as I came back from studying abroad, I knew that I wanted to stay connected to a community of people who have gone abroad and who encourage traveling and seeing the world. Actively being involved in that community and making a difference to other people has been one of the most rewarding endeavors to me during my time at the University of Tulsa and as an IES Abroad Ambassador.”

Before studying abroad in New Zealand, Cheyenne set three study abroad goals for himself:

  1. Get to know local students
  2. Do something unique to New Zealand
  3. Learn about the history and culture of the indigenous population of New Zealand, the Maori people


Mission accomplished: In Auckland, he joined the basketball, tramping, and climbing clubs, enrolled in a Maori world class, and spent time travelling Auckland with Vedic monks. He explained, “I became a better person from going abroad and these goals that I set for myself, which expanded my thinking of the world and forced me out of my comfort zone, had a large part in that.”

After returning from abroad, Cheyenne knew he wanted to stay connected with the study abroad community. He became an IES Abroad Ambassador at the University of Tulsa, and now works diligently to find and promote study abroad programs specifically for Nursing students, Engineering and Natural Science (ENS) students, and student athletes. “Whether it’s specific classes, a restrictive scholarship, or an all-around heavy workload, I knew these groups of people already thought that studying abroad was not possible for them,” Cheyenne said. “Although more difficult, it is still possible for a majority of these students to go abroad if they want to.”

Cheyenne collaborates with his study abroad office on campus to find study abroad programs that work with the class schedules of nursing students, ENS students, and student athletes. “I’m very happy that what I have been working on with my study abroad office has translated into real change for certain groups on campus, and it all started with me being an IES Abroad Ambassador,” he said. “Going forward, I will continue to encourage all students to go abroad, especially those who thought it never possible.”

Originally published at:

Studying Abroad as a Sophomore

I’ve always been predictable. From what I eat for dinner to where I sit in my university’s library, familiarity makes my world run smoothly. I could give you a million examples of how often I find my daily life entrenched in routine. And, most importantly, the one decision that completely changed that.

No one was more surprised than I was at the spur-of-the-moment decision I made to study abroad last fall. I was a sophomore. I’d never even mentioned a desire to go abroad. And I decided to go a mere week before my school’s application was due. Suffice it to say that I was a bit frazzled getting my ducks back into a familiar row.

While I can’t tell you what compelled this ‘by the books’ gal to pack up her life and move 4,000 miles away, I can tell you what compels me because of that decision.

Here’s what no one tells you about going abroad as a sophomore:

  • You get to have two full years back at your home university afterwards. I had no worries about missing out on what was going on back home; I knew I still had half of college to get back into the swing of things.
  • You can learn from your peers. My two closest friends in Scotland, Katie and Rachel, were both juniors while I was a sophomore. It was so refreshing to have influential women in my life who I could not only experience Edinburgh with, but also rely on for their experience and advice, both abroad and at home. Back in the States, most of my friends were my own age, and having the opportunity to talk through the college experience with others who had been going through school longer than I was completely amazing. We came together despite our age differences, united by our Scottish adventure. The most “delicious” benefit to my friends was in regard to meals. I had never cooked for myself before, so the thought of having to prepare my own meals at first was a little scary. Katie and Rachel had lived and cooked for themselves back home, so if the mess of grocery shopping and chopping ever got to be too much for me, I could pop over to Rachel’s flat for whatever delicious meal she’d concocted.
  • You have more flexibility when it comes to coursework. My university has certain ‘Block’ course requirements, the standard general electives. Because I went abroad as a sophomore, I was able to take three classes in British History, rather than in my major, Biology, all without getting behind. I got to fully immerse myself in the culture of Scotland, both past and present, all while fulfilling the courses I needed to graduate from my home university anyway. After all, if a STEM student needs to take history classes, why not take them where history was written?
  • You get to be a resource. Now, as a junior, several of my friends are deciding to take the leap and head abroad. I’ve had the unique opportunity to tell them what it was like, to advise them to bring waterproof shoes and to keep a journal so they forget nothing. I have two whole years to spread the word about the life you can find if you step outside your comfort zone.

Now that being said…

You can ask anyone what it’s ‘really like’ to study abroad, but at the end of the day, the experience is really what you choose to make it. I had a bit more growing up to do than some of my older peers, but to have had the opportunity to gain life experience in Scotland made it all the more meaningful to me.

Don’t study abroad if you don’t want it to change your life. Because it will. I’ll never be the same, now that I’ve lived in Scotland, hiked through the Highlands, traveled internationally alone, and seen what it truly means to take a leap of faith, and find out where you land.

Thanks to study abroad, I’ve gained a strength I didn’t know I had, and a confidence in my ability to chase my dreams, no matter how crazy they might seem. I’ve gained a new sense of independence and freedom, knowing I can and have survived on my own. I didn’t prepare emotionally go to abroad. I just went. And that made all the difference.

I truly believe that the decision to study abroad changed my life more than I could have imagined. And I’ve changed my mind about following the same path you’ve always been on.  If I’ve learned anything over the past year, it’s that impulsive decisions can bring you to some of your happiest days. Don’t be afraid to experience life, even if it means on a slightly different timeline than those around you. It’s your life, and your timeline, after all.

Abby Kucera
University of Tulsa ’18

Scotland, Spring 2016
Previously published by IFSA-Butler: 

Life (Abroad) After Graduation: Bea

cge-blog-8-11-16Graduation day: the single most highly anticipated day of a college student’s educational career. Many thoughts go through the excited soon-to-be-graduate’s head, such as:

“What’s next?”

Some paths are more defined than others. Some graduates have always known what they wanted to do, while others are still figuring it out. Regardless of having all the answers or not, some audacious TU graduates are pursuing one thing over all: adventure. More specifically, a post-graduate life abroad.

Bea Baker, Class of 2016, took off after graduation with a one way plane ticket to Thailand to teach English.

“I don’t know where to start. I absolutely love everything about Bangkok: getting lost and finding ornate temples, the food, the deep level of respect embedded in Thai culture, the food…”

cge-2blog-8-11-16But Bea admits that this type of lifestyle change, while an incredible experience, is not always a walk in the park.

“Bangkok is a beautiful city and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to teach here. It has been challenging though. I work 9 hours a day, 10 on Fridays, which makes meeting people hard. I have just moved as far as I can from not only the best four years of my life but everyone I love. It’s challenging, and I’m still in transition, but luckily I’ve lived abroad before when I studied in Cape Town, so I’m optimistic for what is yet to come.”

One of Bea’s fondest memories so far was Teacher Appreciation Day, or “Wai Khru.”

Bea-phuang-malai-cge-blog-8-11-16“Wai is the physical expression of the deep level of respect in Thai culture. We had a two hour ceremony in the morning where students presented teachers with flower garlands called phuang malai. Why isn’t every day Teacher Appreciation Day? Funny how this is something I never asked while I was a student…”

To keep up with Bea’s life in Thailand, you can follow her blog: