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Student among several enrolled in study abroad; programs show increase

Jess Nobert, an Austin Peay State University student studying abroad in Sweden, misses a lot of things about home – her car, ranch dressing and warm weather.

But its a good experience because there are a lot of new things here that I probably wont find when I get back, she said.

Nobert is one of several students participating in APSUs study-abroad programs this spring.

Tina Rousselot de Saint Ceran, coordinator of International Education at APSU, said more and more students like Nobert are studying abroad or taking advantage of exchange programs.
Jess Nobert, an Austin Peay State University student studying abroad in Sweden, misses a lot of things about home — her car, ranch dressing and warm weather.

“But it's a good experience because there are a lot of new things here that I probably won't find when I get back,” she said.

Nobert is one of several students participating in APSU's study-abroad programs this spring.

Tina Rousselot de Saint Ceran, coordinator of International Education at APSU, said more and more students like Nobert are studying abroad or taking advantage of exchange programs.

“To date for the 2009-10 programs, we have doubled our enrollment numbers in study abroad and exchange programs since last year this time,” she said.

Enrollment in study-abroad fall and winter programs increased by 118 percent from the 2008-09 academic year. In 2008-09, APSU experienced a 26 percent increase in study-abroad enrollment numbers from the previous academic year, due to the addition of two short-term study-abroad opportunities in Japan and Russia and two new partner institution exchanges in South Korea and Austria.

APSU also was the university with the greatest enrollment in the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad (CCSA) winter program, topping 15 other partner institutions in the consortium.

Study-abroad students experience opportunities that simply cannot be found at APSU. Nobert, for instance, met Matthew Barzun, U.S. ambassador to Sweden, at Mid-Sweden University, where she is attending.

“He came to speak to the campus about answering Obama's call but ended up speaking about the Haiti situation instead,” she said. “He talked about what the U.S. was doing there at the time. It was interesting because students from the university, Swedes and other foreign students were asking him very tough questions we wouldn't expect to hear at APSU.”

Nobert said she continues to acclimate herself to being in a different country, surrounded by new cultures.

“I've had the opportunity to go to a few sporting events. I really hate that I'm missing APSU basketball season. The university doesn't have organized collegiate sports; everyone who plays is either for fun or professional,” she said. “There are hockey and basketball teams in our town, Sundsvall, and there is a hockey team from the Swedish Elite League only a few miles up the road in TimrÃ¥.

“And we take the bus everywhere, when it's too far to walk.”

At the beginning of her studies, Nobert said she decided to approach the opportunity with no expectations.

“I have a history of hyping things up to myself and getting disappointed, so I thought it was best to just go in with an open mind and take the experiences as they came,” she said. “So far, I haven't been disappointed.”

For students considering studying abroad, Nobert said it is important for students to begin preparing by thinking about “the little things you will want.”

“The TV is different, and the DVDs don't play in your computer without changing settings,” she said. “Your phone may not work when you get to Europe. It's going to be cold.”

The largest concern Nobert has encountered so far is snow.

“A few weeks into my studies, it snowed for nearly 48 hours straight. I had to go to school even though there was at least six inches already on the ground,” she said. “On my walk home from lectures, there was over a foot. They don't even think about closing school here. That's just how it is.”

For more information about study abroad and exchange programs at APSU, call Rousselot at (931) 221-6851 or e-mail her at rousselott@apsu.edu. -- Melony Shemberger