International students typically want to experience as much as possible in the short amount of time they are abroad. They travel to new places and see much of the country in which they study.
This year, Augustana has 87 new international students. They come from various backgrounds and many have fascinating stories to tell about their lives at home. Some students put in a little extra effort to make their exchange memorable. Pakistani student Seemab Hassan is one of those students.
“Many of our international students like to travel, but most don’t see as many places in their entire four-year Augustana career as Seemab [Hassan] has managed to visit in one semester,” Ben Iverson, director of international admissions and advising, said.
Hassan has visited 18 states since he came to the United States in August.
He has seen famous landmarks such as Mount Rushmore, Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon and the Golden Gate Bridge, but he wishes he would have had the time to see even more.
“I liked Niagara Falls the most,” Hassan said. “I had wanted to see that place since I was a little kid, and I loved it. I would like to go to Florida next, but unfortunately my stay in the U.S. is over in three weeks.”
Back in Pakistan, Hassan did not travel a lot, simply because of lack of funding. Seemab is here on an International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) scholarship, which allows him to spend money on activities such as traveling.
“As a student, the best way to save money is to plan everything ahead,” he said. “There are always many cheaper options. Food and accommodation can be expensive, so Burger King’s $1 burgers and staying at youth hostels are good ways of saving some money.”
Hassan also recommends traveling on the road instead of by plane, since it allows the traveller to experience more.
“Road trips are very cheap and much more enjoyable,” Hassan said.
The International Programs Office encourages all students to travel and experience as much as possible while studying abroad. However, students need to be aware of their limits.
“Sometimes students forget how big the U.S. really is. It probably isn’t advisable to visit New York and Los Angeles in the same four-day break as some students have tried to do in the past,” Iverson said. “While we really encourage our international students to take advantage of the opportunity to travel and see other parts of the U.S. over weekends or breaks, it isn’t advisable to miss class. Most professors won’t accept ‘my plane was stuck in Detroit’ or ‘I wanted to see Disneyworld’ as a very good reason for missing class.”