The Study Away Symposium put on by the Center for Student Action brought a piece of the study away experience to Azusa Pacific

On Monday, students gathered in Wilden Hall to learn about Azusa Pacific’s study away programs and get a glimpse of what it’s like to experience being away from APU. The study away symposium was put on by the Center for Global Learning and Engagement (CGLE), and various poster and oral presentations were given.

The event was full of visual representation as photos filled Wilden’s lobby. There were photos of students who had studied abroad themselves and various photos labeled under global engagement, global learning, captured beauty and impactful imagery.

Some students  went further in depth about their experience by presenting research they had done and what they learned through studying away. These presentations explored topics such as holistic community change and loving life in the moment.

“I think I love this event because it brings the students’ experience to campus, so the students that don’t get to study abroad or who are thinking of studying abroad can get a bit of the experience,” said Annaliese Yip, a study away intern for CGLE.

Student trips greatly varied. The themes of the posters ranged from knowing one’s value separate from performance to talking about the state of mental health in a foreign country. Students considered all of these adventures as they wandered the room.

Yip said she gets excited at seeing potential students who wish to study abroad. She said when she sends students abroad, she understands the impact it will have on them because of how it affected her own life.

Angela Pham, a senior economics and honors humanities major who studied away at Oxford talked about life outside of APU.“My favorite part of studying away was being in a new country, developing new habits and rhythms and doing life and school differently than what I had gotten to do at APU,” Pham said.

Stepping into a different culture can often enrich and transform one’s perspective on life and help them to grow. Students expressed this through the art they created while abroad, such as a scrapbook and a flower pot.

“Being in a different culture from your own makes you feel so small and insignificant,” said Macy Chung, a nursing major who studied away in Norway.

Studying away isn’t always easy, Pham said. Pham talked about how she was challenged academically. She even thought about dropping out at one point because it was so hard. Despite this, she was able to discover things about herself and to live well through these challenges.

“The sacred time of sharing meals together and being a human was something that I found valuable and essential to healthy living,” Pham said.  

Growth and learning about oneself were themes throughout, but Chung also emphasized what she learned about her professional career. She discussed how in Norway she realized the importance of establishing relationships with one’s patients and how she believes this should be applied in the U.S.

Pham said a way to prepare for studying away is to set goals for oneself that do not have to do with academics. Studying away is about more than just the the academics. It is about what one has learned by immersing oneself in a different culture for a semester.