A 20-hour flight to Bali, Indonesia stood between Maui Doran and the experience of a lifetime studying abroad at Udayana University.

The flight this past fall was Doran’s third ever, and first international. Despite the nerves, the Spokane native was excited to travel abroad and spend four months learning about the culture and language of a place a world away from her life at Washington State University.

“I knew I wanted to study abroad during college because I wanted a change and to see growth in myself,” Doran said.

Her advisor listed study abroad destinations and Bali stood out among them. Doran had no idea she could go as far as Indonesia as part of a study abroad program. She was the only American among 166 students who spent the fall of 2019 at Udayana University, taking classes on cross-cultural communication and international tourism.

Doran is part of a growing number of WSU students studying outside the United States as part of exchange programs with partner universities and organizations. More than two-dozen students are spending the spring semester away from WSU as part of an exchange program, up from less than 20 a year prior, said Koda Hendrickson, a global learning advisor with the Office of International Programs’ Global Learning Department.

“At the student level, we’re seeing increases in student’s awareness of the world,” Hendrickson said. “With an exchange program, students are embedded in a university, taking classes with students from that country in regional languages. When they come back to WSU they bring back their experience, an ability to see things differently and a willingness to raise new questions they might not have been raised before.”

Doran squatting to take a photograph.
Maui Doran takes a photograph while studying abroad in Bali, Indonesia.

The number of WSU faculty-led study abroad programs is also on the rise, Hendrickson said. Close to 300 students participate in these programs each semester, with the most available options in the summer semester. Australia, Scotland and Spain are among the most popular countries for students to choose exchange programs at partner universities.

Returning for her final semester before graduation in May, Doran is excited to bring a new perspective back to Pullman and share memories of her time in Bali with her peers.

“I would just say if you’re considering (studying abroad), you need to do it. “It’s an experience you can’t get anywhere else. It changed my life.”