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Students at Mount Union Step Outside their Comfort Zone and Study Abroad

November 17, 2023

By Fatima Magana '22

ALLIANCE- The week of November 13th through November 17th marked the celebration for International Education Week when students studying abroad, and exchange students celebrated their achievements and accomplishments as international students.

The University of Mount Union recognizes the accomplishments of three students who value the experiences they have received from the University to meet every one of their goals either in or outside of the United States.

Louis Beguin, French teaching assistant, appreciates the opportunity of teaching French in the United States as he gets to build relationships with students who are passionate about the French culture and language. Beguin explains that the campus community exceeded his expectations as everyone is welcoming and friendly.

Beguin (Left) with Dr. Bertrand Landry (Right)

“In France, I obtained a bachelor’s degree in English and German with a minor in economics, which I’d like to use to work in international relations,” said Beguin. “Once I obtain my master’s degree, I would like to work abroad as I find it fascinating.”

Beguin recognized the importance of stepping outside of one’s comfort zone by studying abroad. Doing so allows students to become open-minded and humble as they are learning to navigate life by themselves. Prior to being a teaching assistant, Beguin was an exchange student in Canada which he is grateful for as he met new people and gained new experiences.

“If you can resolve a problem abroad, away from family and friends, then you can do anything by yourself anywhere,” said Beguin.

Lu Herrera ‘25, biology major from Peru wanted the best education to achieve her goal of becoming a doctor, therefore, leaving her home country was the best decision. As the education system in Peru does not offer the same opportunities Herrera is getting at Mount Union, she is grateful that she made the decision to go after the best education as a Purple Raider.

Herrera '25 by the Peruvian flag in KHIC

“When I decided to study abroad, pursuing my entire degree elsewhere, my family did not help with the process, but I knew that the experience I would get in the U.S. would benefit my personal and professional lives,” said Herrera.

Herrera is a student ambassador, raider guide, and chemistry lab teaching assistant and all her roles have taught her the importance of communication and building a discipline. She has learned to manage her time efficiently and stay committed to her goals because you cannot say you are going to do something and then back out.

“I have broken a language barrier by being an international student and I provide a cultural appreciation to students who have not stepped out of their comfort zone," said Herrera.

Joseph Haas ‘24, human resource management and Spanish double major, studied abroad in Montevideo, Uruguay during the spring of 2023. When he began his collegiate career, he felt inspired by his high school Spanish teacher and Dr. Gregg Courtad, professor of Spanish to immerse himself in the Hispanic culture by studying abroad.

Haas '24 at Iguazu Falls on the Brazil-Argentina boarder

“Living with a host family allowed me to learn in depth about the Uruguayan culture while forcing me to practice my Spanish-speaking skills with my host parents as they did not speak English,” said Haas.

Studying abroad allows students to become globally educated about international issues that affect everyone in distinct ways. While obtaining an education in a set concentration is important, getting a global education can expand one’s skillset and therefore, making you a versatile professional.

Study abroad taught me that I am capable of being resilient and independent; even though moving away from home for college can be a big step, living in a foreign country on your own is an even bigger one,” said Haas. “While I was abroad, though, I gained a new level of self-confidence.”

These and other students at the University of Mount Union are proud to be international students who have stepped outside their comfort zone to immerse themselves in a new culture, meeting people of all walks of life.