‘Studying abroad has been the best decision I have made in college’

A world of opportunities awaits NDSU students. 

Just ask nursing junior Sarah Fiske, who spent fall semester studying at the University of Grenoble-Alpes in France.

“I was enrolled in an intensive French language course,” Fiske said. “My goal with my study abroad experience was to gain a better understanding of another culture and to go out of my comfort zone.”

She accomplished what she set out to do by interacting with local people, tasting new foods and being open to new challenges. She immersed herself in the French culture, learning far more than she could from a textbook.

Fiske, who is from Fargo, also taught English at a middle school and volunteered at a local hospital.

“Studying abroad has been the best decision I have made in college – the experience created some of the best moments in my life. I took in every experience that I could,” Fiske said, noting she made friends with study abroad students from across the United States and others from around the world.

Studying French in France forced her to become more proficient with the language, and she gained the confidence to handle every situation. Her work at the French hospital also may prove vital to her career in nursing.

“My experiences enhanced my cultural competency, which is essential as I care for patients of all backgrounds,” said Fiske, who also helped French doctors and nurses improve their English. “This was a unique opportunity for me to get a glimpse into what healthcare in another country is like, and how important it is to understand a culture that may be different from your own when providing care as a nurse.”

Studying abroad opened her eyes to new opportunities and challenges, which is exactly why such trips are encouraged at NDSU.

“Sarah wanted to do a language and culture program in France for 90 days. She’d always wanted to study abroad, but didn’t think she’d have a chance to go to France with the way the nursing program is structured,” said Tanya Kramer, NDSU assistant director for study abroad, who helped Fiske with the placement. “I knew this experience would not only help her to grow personally, but professionally by being able to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and languages.”

Fiske’s immediate goal is to earn her bachelor’s degree and practice as a registered nurse. “With my passion for travel, I would like to work a few years as a traveling nurse,” she said. “I’d like to experience other cultures.”


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