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      Be aware when studying abroad

      When Evan Beckner prepared for his study abroad trip to Japan, he crossed all the T TMs and dotted all I's before leaving.

      "I TMve always been really interested in Japan, Japanese culture, and I TMve been learning how to speak a little bit a few years before I left," said Beckner, a Tech student.

      But one of the things he couldn't prepare for was the unpredictable.

      "The earthquake hit while I was on the train, and I was looking around and kind of freaking out because the Japanese people were freaking out, so that's how I knew it was a big one, Beckner said.;

      Evan is among many students at Michigan Tech who participate in the study abroad programs, a program designed to open doors to students who want to experience a different culture.

      But what happens when trips don't go as planned? Natural disasters or political turmoil?

      Although the program prepares students, they should always research the country they're interested in.

      "We are here to be an adviser to them, but ultimately it TMs their responsibility, said Thy Yang, Director of International Programs and Services at Michigan Tech. We walk them through the steps they need to take in order to choose a program, choose a country, and then get there and come back.

      More than 60 students from Michigan Tech participate in the program each year. Although they may go to different countries, they all experience one thing in common: diversity.

      "I would say that from a growth perspective, there TMs no better way to experience learning than to be in a situation where you are constantly having to figure things out," Yang said.

      Yang says studying abroad should be a positive and memorable experience. She says the program serves only as an advisor to students, and those interested should consider all risks before leaving.