Jeremiah Rohde wanted to take his education to the next level and gain experience that would give him a professional edge. His venture brought him to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh — and then took him to the other side of the world.
After receiving a two-year degree from UW-Marinette, Rohde enrolled at UW Oshkosh as an international studies major with an emphasis in business and a minor in Japanese. He knew that he wanted to use Japanese in the future, so he signed up for a study abroad at the University of Nagasaki Siebold in Japan.
“I knew that going to Japan would give me the necessary experience to help me work towards my goals,” said Rohde, of Coleman, Wis.
According to Office of International Education Director Jenna Graff, the UW Oshkosh added the Japan program seven years ago. “This program is one small piece of what UWO is doing in developing international relationships and curricula,” she said.
The Office of International Education’s programs have been active for more than 30 years, although the office itself has been in existence only since 2003. The office places students in study abroad programs in 25 countries, and experience options range from 10 days to a full academic year.
For students interested in the semester abroad studies, the countries range from Italy to Canada, Australia to New Zealand, and a European excursion that includes six countries. Last year, 380 students participated.
Graff said that the students who participate in study abroad will receive a “transformative experience.”
Rohde agreed. “I have grown in the one year I have been here, and I consider this the most important experience I have had in my 24 years,” he said, adding that the most rewarding aspect has been forming his own opinion about the world from first-hand experiences.
The study abroad also has led to a job offer. He will be teaching English to children ages of 4 to 14 at Banana Kids, a private English school in Japan.
“Yes, studying is important and yes, the experience from school is important, but that is only half of it. Don’t be afraid to go out and explore,” Rohde said. “Go out and join a club at another school, make friends with your neighbors, or make friends with other people around town or the small business owners.
“The other half of the experience is up to you to find and make the most of.”
Two other UW Oshkosh students also are on the path to making the most of their college experiences this year: They received a Freeman-Asia Scholarship, granting them $7,000 each for their studies.