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ONE TWISTED SISTER: Musician Dee Snider flashes the devil's horns to the crowd at Monster Circus, a rock mecca in Vegas. Click Arts&Life or a link to story. / Photo by Ben Hansen, special contributor

Today's word on journalism

May 8, 2009

The Last WORD


The Fat Lady Sings, Off-Key, Drools

At about this time every year, like the swallows to Capistrano or the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio, the WORD migrates to its summer musing grounds at the sanitarium —St. Mumbles Home for the Terminally Verbose.

The reason is clear, and never moreso than as this season —the WORD's 13th —peters out.

It's been a fraught year of high palaver and eye-popping transition, both good and not-so-much. An interminable presidential campaign saga finally did end, and in extraordinary and historic fashion. Meanwhile, the bottom and everything that's below the bottom fell out of the economy, with families, homes, entire industries and —of particular interest to WORDsters and the civic-minded —dozens of daily newspapers ("I don't so much mind that newspapers are dying--it's watching them commit suicide that pisses me off." --Molly Ivins). . . all evaporating. What replaces them, from the individual to the institutional to the societal? Are we looking at a future of in-depth Tweeting?

As any newsperson or firehorse knows, it's hard to turn your back on day-to-day catastrophe --we just have to look at the car wreck. But even the most deranged and driven need a rest. As philosopher Lilly Tomlin once observed, "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."

So this morning, as a near-frost hovered over northern Utah, the unmarked van pulled into the driveway and the gentle, soft-spoken men in the white coats rolled the WORD out of bed and into a straitjacket for the usual summer trip to St. Mumbles, where the blathering one will be assigned a hammock and fed soothing, healthy foods --like tapioca, dog biscuits and salmon --while recharging the essential muscles of cynicism, outrage, sarcasm, social engagement and high-mindedness, in preparation for the next edition.
Summer well, friends.

Speak up! Comment on the WORD at

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Feedback and suggestions--printable and otherwise--always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

See the world - sign up for Study Abroad


A GLIMPSE OF STUDY ABROAD: Kiyomizudera
Butai in Kyoto, Japan. / Photo by Clint Gleave

By David Bowman

April 20, 2009 | LOGAN -- Taking the opportunity to travel to another country to further an education “can be one of the best experiences for a student,” says Kay Forsyth, the director of the study abroad program at Utah State University.

An average of 350 students study abroad as exchange students every year at USU. These students travel to all parts of the world. Some attend schools in Europe, Japan, China, and even Ethiopia. Most students attend summer semesters, but others will attend during the fall or spring semesters or even both. Students pay USU tuition prices per semester when they study abroad.

Chris Hudson said, “The cost is worth it, especially when you’re only paying USU tuition costs and getting to go to another country.”

Other schools that are not in partnership with USU but are affiliated are also available. The affiliated schools offer the same programs as the partnered ones except in price. A student attending an affiliated school does not have the benefit of paying USU tuition cost to attend. The student must pay the intended school’s tuition costs as a non-native would.

Most schools offer both on-campus and home stay programs. On-campus is when a student chooses to live in the school’s dormitories. The dorms are generally international so students will be living with other international students. In the home stay program a student will live with a family off-campus.

“I really enjoyed my home stay experience,” said Clint Gleave, who attended Kansai Gadai University in Japan in 2006. “The family I was living with was awesome. They were all great cooks and really lenient with me. I would come home at some crazy hour in the night and they didn’t have a problem with it.” Gleave is a junior attending USU. Students also have the choice to live off-campus at their own expense.

Chris Hudson had the opportunity to experience two countries when he studied abroad. “I was in an environmental performance program. I got to stay in England for four weeks and in Italy for one. It was really cool to see how dark and droll England is compared to how sunny and bright Italy is.”

An environmental performance is when the actors use real locations for their show. Hudson and the students he was with performed in an old house. They would act out a scene and when it was over they would move to the next and the audience would follow. “These plays use real environments instead of built stages, it’s really cool.”

Sometimes a student may experience a dramatic situation, like Serena Decker.

“I was riding on the train to go to Kyoto, Japan, and when I got off the train I realized that I must have dropped my wallet," she said. "I totally freaked out! I had all my identification in it besides my passport and a lot of yen. I jumped on the next train back and I checked with the station office to see if someone turned in my wallet. I was so surprised to see my wallet there and nothing was stolen. That’s when I learned that rumor that most Japanese citizens don’t steal is true.” Decker went to Kobe University in Japan.

As one can see, the opportunities offered by studying abroad are endless. Learning about the generosity of others, living with a completely different family, and performing a play in an on-site location are just fractions of what Decker, Gleave, and Hudson got to experience.

Decker said, “I would recommend getting scholarships when looking to study abroad. If someone has enough money saved up and scholarships and loans to pay for a year’s worth of expenses, they wouldn’t have to find a job and can spend more time exploring the culture they plunged themselves into.”

“The most important thing a student should walk away with from their experience is the appreciation and better understanding of another culture unlike their own,” said Forsyth.

The Study Abroad Web site for Utah State is www.usu.edu/studyabroad. The site has all the information a student will need if they plan to study abroad.

Some scholarship opportunities can be found at: www.cdsintl.org, www.iie.org//programs/gilman/index.html, www.marshallscholarship.org, www.nscs.org, www.iie.org/nsep, www.phikappaphi.org, www.rotary.rog, www.woodrow.org/public-policy, honors.usu.edu/, and www.usu.edu/finaid/scholarships.

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