International Programs News

Spring Break in the Southern Hemisphere

Have you ever wanted to venture to the Southern Hemisphere, immerse yourself in a foreign language and culture, expand upon your studies, or just branch out and see what's out there? Well you've come to the perfect place! The College of Forestry International Programs Office has a multitude of long and short term options for students who plan to get involved abroad. What's more, we have a host of opportunities in the Southern Hemisphere, including a Spring Break session to Southern Chile, a June journey into the heart of the Peruvian Amazon, and a host of study abroad and internship options from New Zealand to Chile and everywhere in between! Contact Kerry Menn if you're interested in an international experience with the College of Forestry!


Read all about Jessica O'Loughlin's experiences on last year's faculty-led spring break trip to Chile, Mountains to the Sea: Ecosystems of Chile and get INSPIRED!

“I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and being from one of the greenest places in the country it isn’t a surprise I ended up as an Environmental Sciences major.”

~Jessica O’Loughlin

Some students spend their 1-week Spring Break vacation catching up on sleep, binge watching Netflix series, and unwinding with family and friends. Jessica O’Loughlin, a Junior in Environmental Sciences at Oregon State University, decided to fly to another hemisphere and embark on an experiential faculty-led program to Chile instead, called Mountains to the Sea: Ecosystems of Chile.

O’Loughlin said that having this faculty-led program run over Spring Break was a big deciding factor for going in the first place. “Since I switched my major late I have a lot of coursework to catch up on and since this program was during a school break it fit into my schedule perfectly.” She also noted that, as an Environmental Sciences major, that part of Chile provides interesting geographic similarities to the Willamette Valley region of Oregon. Another huge deciding factor was that her older sister went to Chile for her study abroad trip, ultimately falling in love with the country and its people.

“Hearing her talk about it inspired me to visit and see with my own eyes what she couldn’t stop talking about.”


O’Loughlin said the faculty that came with them were amazing, and inspiring to work with, making the trip that much more worthwhile and enjoyable. “They were all so knowledgeable and passionate about forestry and were extremely supportive and fun while we were on the trip. This was my first study abroad and they made it unforgettable. The only thing that I disliked is that I couldn’t stay in Chile longer! I would 100% recommend this program to any other students.”




(Left: view from boat ride around Chiloe Island | Right: Jessica O'Loughlin)

Going on this trip only furthered her desire to continue on to graduate school in her field of study because a lot of this trip was spent conducting field research, and she absolutely loved it. It has also opened up the possibility of researching or working in an international capacity later on down the line. “If I got the chance to get my graduate degree, conduct research, and help make a difference in conservation not only here in the U.S. but everywhere, I couldn’t ask for much else. Something that I thought was really cool was that there were graduate students on the trip with us and getting the chance to talk to them about their experiences and what they’re doing with their degree was very eye opening and it helped me really cement my goals for after undergrad.”




(Top: little blue mushroom | Bottom: Krystal Lemhouse (NR) & Jessica O'Loughlin) 





The only part that was difficult at times was the language barrier. I know very basic Spanish, but it didn’t always help. In situations where there was a language barrier, I tried to use the words that I did know to communicate what I was trying to say. We were really lucky though because members of our faculty and some OSU students speak Spanish fluently, which was a huge help. The language barrier, though frustrating at times, made me think critically which I feel can be applied to all aspects of school and life. There are a lot of things that require thinking on the spot and being able to work through situations--it is a great skill to have.

I feel like it’s very applicable. Besides filling my experiential learning requirement, for the first time ever I was able to do field work which is going to help set me up for future classes that require field work as well. In fact, my biology class had to conduct research at Oak Creek where we took transects and identified False Brome coverage and the DBH of trees to see how they were impacted, and because of this program I already knew how to conduct the experiment.


A few of her most memorable moments of the trip were the cuisine, the night walk at the Senda Darwin station on Chiloe, and the boat ride in the Pacific at Chiloe, with the Senda Darwin night walk being the icing on the cake. “I have never seen brighter stars in my whole life. The entire sky was lit up and sparkling, and you could see the Milky Way, purple and blue, weaving in and out of the stars. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. All around us it was silent except for the sounds of frogs croaking and animals rustling in the trees. I wish I could have caught it on camera, but I don’t think a picture could have done it justice. I feel so blessed that I was able to see it with my own eyes because I’ll have that image and the sense of tranquility and awe that it inspired in me with me forever.”


“I’ve always wanted to go abroad and by being a part of this trip I was finally able to do it. Going to Chile in of itself fulfilled something I wanted to do. I felt like this trip helped me grow as a person because I was able to throw myself at something and go from there. The independence, knowledge, and experiences I took away from this trip were all I could ask for.” 


(Top: During boat ride on Chiloe Island we saw some beautiful rainbows made by water splashing against the cliffs in the ocean | Bottom: Lake Llanquihue)

Joyce and her Journey in America

Traveling to another country is exciting, but it can also be intimidating. If you're nervous to travel to another country for the first time, or are uncertain about living so far from home, you are not alone. Most people traveling abroad share these sentiments, but they also return with unforgettable stories and new friends from around the world. Reading about the experiences of past travelers is a great way to prepare for your own international experience.
Joyce Aernouts is a student from Belgium who has arrived in the US to finish her thesis. She will be here for 6 months before returning home and has kept a blog about all the ups and downs of her trip so far. Click here to follow her on her journey as she shares everything from nerves about her visa to the joy of her first American hamburger.

Back To Her Roots

A Natural Resource Management Major with Soil Science and Resource Economics minors, Blair Ruffing is always up for getting her hands dirty and learning about geographic differences in soils, plant habitats, cultural gardening variances, and everything under the sun pertaining to horticulture, soil science, and the green industry. Last summer Blair (who's also an Irish citizen!) lived, worked, and learned at an organic farm on a Tibetan Monk Montessori in County Cavan, Ireland. This fall, she has returned to Ireland for a semester abroad in Cork, Ireland! 

Keep up with Blair's amazing experiences as she continues her journeys in Ireland by visiting her blog today! 

New Zealand Info Session

It's time to go to New Zealand! This Friday CoF International will be hosting an info session with the University of Canterbury's Anna Foster on how you can study, intern, or research in New Zealand. Opportunities are available for graduates and undergraduates. Sweet treats provided!

Photo Exhibit: The Root People of Java Indonesia

Join us this Friday as we experience the culture of the Root People of Java Indonesia. This marvelous photo exhibit will be held in the Richardson second floor knuckle and is sure to be a refreshing and interesting break before finals. Refreshments will be provided!