Study abroad provides Mountaineers with new perspectives

Students exploring the Belize rain forest
Study abroad programs immerse Mountaineers in new learning environments, including the Belize rain forest.

As the Study Abroad program at Western grows, so does the scope of the Western learning experience.

This year, a number of Mountaineers are learning across the world, enhancing their studies through working and living in new environments. Some, like sophomore Elizabeth Beggs, are learning about international business while exploring life in Europe. Others, such senior Alexa Nofsinger, document their experiences via blogs and photography.

The study abroad experience can be confusing and challenging, particularly when in an area that is totally unfamiliar.

“From mistakes and unusual moments come great adventure—and memories that will last a lifetime,” Beggs said.

She is spending her semester in the United Kingdom in the world-renowned Harlaxton Manor program. By leaving the familiar behind, much can be accomplished.  

“Laugh, indulge, and most importantly, try new things outside of your comfort zone,” she advised.

Whether climbing snow-topped peaks or exploring ancient lava flows, Western students get out of their comfort zone to learn. Currently, Western students can be found learning in England, Costa Rica, Argentina, France and many other areas around the globe.

In fact, Lendedu ranked Western one of the best colleges for study abroad programs in the nation—No. 27 to be exact.

Many study abroad programs focus on immersion, exposing students to a new way of life relevant to their fields of study. For students interested in Anthropology and Archaeology, staying at the Maya Field School in Belize is a great way to learn more about ancient civilizations. Western faculty lead this adventure, which is held for four weeks in a remote region of Belize.

Students interested in sustainability and global business can attend this summer’s expedition to Costa Rica, led by Career Services coordinator Chelsea Dalporto-McDowell. Focusing in on the eco-tourism business, this trip involves project-based learning, hands-on study and an up-close look on environmental issues.

For students looking for a more creative travel opportunity, art students will be traveling with instructor Jeff Taylor, Ph.D., to Paris investigating French art and its markets. This will include opportunities to visit some of the best-known museums in the world, as well as flea markets and other lesser-known markets for French artwork. Taylor emphasized that this was a look at the art world from a business perspective, so students from both artistic and business backgrounds will benefit from the experience.

Whether in Parisian museums, Costa Rican beaches or the Gunnison Valley itself, Mountaineers continue to find new opportunities to enhance their learning experience.

Interested in trying out a new learning environment during your time as a Mountaineer? To learn more about international learning opportunities, visit

Story by Anna Lhuillier.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 1:45pm