decisions for the rest of your life. It’s a good
time to look around and see how different
people live and use those experiences for your
own life,” Findling says.
“I hope a lot of kids get to go abroad for
the experience because of these scholarships,”
she says. “I think it’s important for a student
to live in another country and learn from that
culture and see all the challenges it presents.
They learn to be independent and to think
What they bring home
The College of Liberal Arts has about 200
students per year studying abroad, according
to Elizabeth Diaz, director of international
programs and study abroad for the College.
“They realize their own weaknesses and
strengths and learn from them,” Diaz says.
“Dealing with challenges on a daily basis
teaches you a lot about yourself.”
Finding oneself and understanding a new
culture are major selling points of the study
abroad experience. But Bosserman and Mike
Lockman, who spent a month in Lima, Peru,
last year, found something else when they
got back to Purdue—a full world of culture
existed right on campus.
Lockman, a senior double majoring
in anthropology and psychology, spoke
Spanish well enough during his study abroad
internship that he was translating audio tours
into English for the Museum of Art in Lima.
But he’d never been fully immersed in a place
where he had to constantly think, listen, and
speak in a second language, and it was more
difficult than he ever expected. When he got
back to Purdue, Lockman looked around at
international students and realized that what
he’d done for just a few weeks is exactly what
tens of thousands of students do at Purdue
and other universities for years at a time.
“It’s tiring to be learning, but to be
translating and learning at the same time
is difficult because you don’t know if you’re
getting it right,” Lockman says. “International
students at Purdue are learning the same
things I am and dealing with all the same
pressures, but they’re doing it in a second
He also gained a better sense of what it
feels like to be different in some way from
most people around him. “I was a white, male
American in Peru,” Lockman says. “I’ve never
had the experience of being a minority until I
With a new understanding of the
struggles of international students, as well
as the richness they can bring to campus
organizations, Lockman has stepped up his
efforts to recruit diverse students in clubs and
groups. “I’ve dedicated myself to try to bring
that diversity into the programs I’m involved
with,” he says.
It’s easy to think that a diverse group of
students is being reached by recruitment
efforts, he says, but sometimes what may
appeal to American students doesn’t connect
with others. “When you see that you don’t
have a number of people from different
groups, you have to go back and see how
you’re doing things,” Lockman says. He asked
himself, “Are we promoting this correctly?
Are we reaching out to all these groups?
You have to see if you’re talking about things
in a way that’s maybe a turn-off for these
groups. That said, culture is complicated.
It exists on a spectrum and its gradients
Diaz says that this sort of insight is
something she frequently sees when students
come back from studying abroad. Students
continue to learn from and apply their
experiences abroad long after they step off
the plane onto American soil—something
Findling understands and hopes to share with
generations of Liberal Arts students to come.
By Brian Wallheimer.
Mike Lockman, a senior studying anthropology
and psychology, feeds a llama in Peru. Photo
courtesy of Mike Lockman.
Jill Bosserman, a junior studying history and
English, explores Westminster Abbey. Photo
courtesy of Jill Bosserman.