Travel opportunities, life’s stepping stones

Andy Tevis

Andy Tevis

When I say I’m from Idaho, land of the potatoes, many people ask why I came all the way to Missouri.

It wasn’t for Joplin.

Sure, this area can be nice, but I don’t plan on staying too long after completing college.

Like many other students, I consider Missouri Southern a stepping stone. A stepping stone to where?

Maybe across the world.

The reason I chose to attend this college was the College’s international mission (along with the opportunity to work for The Chart). Southern has an impressive selection of international study opportunities.

In January, the College’s Institute of International Studies was given national recognition with an award for “Internationalizing the Campus” from the Institute of International Education.

I think it’s sad that many students don’t seem to appreciate the international mission that our Southern has.

Over winter break, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime to visit Cuba through a trip organized by the College. I learned more about the country in one week than I ever could through classes or books. Traveling outside the United States definitely can change a person’s outlook on the world.

People who have traveled abroad seem to have an increased sensitivity to the cultural differences and similarities throughout the world.

I know not all students are able to travel due to personal circumstances.

However, Southern seems to do nearly everything possible to make these trips affordable and available to students. Many students are eligible for grants that help cover the costs of these trips.

Studying abroad might be the best way to learn about the world’s different cultures, but by no means is it the only way. Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen quite an array of speakers, educators and performers visit the campus.

I’ve also realized there’s much that can be learned about the world right here on campus through the exchange students that attend the College.

It’s interesting to hear an outsider’s opinion on the American culture, politics and people.

I hope other students can learn to better appreciate Southern’s international focus. In times like these, it’s never been more important that Americans understand the different cultures of the world.