Lancaster – Cole Willis wants his fellow students at Ohio University Lancaster | Pickerington to know that they can have a life-transforming study abroad experience like he did this past summer. The junior from Canal Winchester went to school in Barcelona, Spain for two months.
"I had a Romanian professor and a professor from Belgium," said Willis. "So the experience was really unique trying to understand how they teach and how they expect their students to behave. It's far different than the American culture."
Willis is a Communication major at OUL. He said that studying overseas is always something he wanted to do. He looked into several options through Ohio University and thought that Barcelona was the perfect fit.
"I thought Barcelona would be a great opportunity because they had a marketing class and a management class," said Willis. "And there's a beach."
Willis said there was a language barrier but it is something he was able to overcome with patience and persistence.
"I speak a little bit of Spanish. I'm not fluent. So, it made it a little challenging," said Willis. "In Barcelona, they speak Catalan, which is a mix between Spanish and French. So, by understanding Spanish, you really can't fully understand their language. You had to also understand the French and how they combine their words."
Willis said even though there is a lot of paperwork to fill out, the study abroad application process is not difficult. He said there are plenty of study abroad opportunities available to students on regional campuses and plenty of people who are willing to help students find them and take the plunge.
"Ohio University Lancaster is a wonderful place. They really do care about their students, more so than other universities. I think more students on the regional campuses are realizing that there are these opportunities," said Willis. "I feel I grew as a person. I understand how lucky we are as Americans and I don't take for granted what we have anymore."
Willis plans to get his master's degree in Communication at OUL as well. The regional campus was an affordable college option for Willis because he can live at home and go to school. The Lancaster Campus also has a special place in his heart because he is literally a product of it.
"My parents met at Ohio University Lancaster. So, I always thought it would be neat to experience the campus," said Willis. "It's not far from my house. I'm saving a lot of money by staying at home and commuting and the professors here really care about their students."
Willis said he hopes Barcelona isn't his only study abroad experience. He hopes to find another opportunity and spend next summer studying overseas again.