Advocates get students to their far away dreams

Students that dream of travelling and seeing the world have a group of advocates on their side to help make those dreams a reality.

The Wang Center for Global Education has three new Sojourner Advocates this year. Each is ready to assist and provide support for prospective, active and former Study Away students at Pacific Lutheran University.

“As a Sojourner Advocate, I help plan campus-wide events to encourage and inform students to study away,” junior Sojourner Advocate Sam van Roon said. “We also provide welcoming upon return and, most importantly, getting people excited about all that awaits them in this great big world of ours.”

Seniors Sonja Schaefer and Kalie Saathoff also became Sojourner Advocates this year. Schaefer has studied away in Beijing and the famed Antarctica/Argentina trip. Saathoff studied away in Windhoek, Namibia and Honolulu.

“Living in a giant metropolis with a non-English-speaking host family was exactly the independent adventure I was seeking,” Schaefer wrote on the Wang Center website.

Van Roon said he never considered studying away before enrolling, but with the help of the Wang Center, he studied away in Brussels. While there, he had the opportunity to visit nine other countries.

At PLU, 49 percent of students study away at some point in their college careers. “I enjoy having the position and network necessary to increase that number as much as possible,” van Roon said.

There are more than 20 resources on the Wang Center’s website to help with funding, many of which are specific to certain study away locations. “If funding a semester abroad seems daunting, don’t worry- it really is affordable,” van Roon said.

“There are more reasons than can be listed in the amount of time it takes to just actually apply,” van Roon said. “You’ll meet incredible people, see amazing sights, learn more than you thought imaginable, and have a lot of autonomy to have the unique, individualized trip you want to have.”

As of right now there are several Study Away opportunities still available. The deadline to apply is September 30.
The J-Term international trips still open include China, England, Italy, Martinique, and Uruguay. Students can spend J-Term within the state at Holden Village, Neah Bay, or even Tacoma.

“To me, being a Sojourner Advocate means having the opportunity to encourage and assist students campuswide to take advantage of the amazing opportunities that PLU has to offer,” said van Roon.

For more information on studying away check out the Study Away Fair. It will take place on Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Anderson University Center Regency Room.

At the fair students will have the opportunity to meet and learn about PLU sponsored Gateway semester programs, faculty-led J-Term programs, and non-PLU Approved providers will be available. In addition, resources on funding these programs will be there to learn about. Any more questions on studying away can be answered via the Wang center at wang.center@plu.edu. 🅼

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