Barbara Barstow – Global Learning Advisor
Barbara joined WSU Global Learning in early 2020 as a Global Learning Faculty-Led Advisor. She works with WSU’s College of Arts and Sciences, Health Sciences, and Honors faculty-led programs and advises students majoring in arts disciplines and health professions. Barbara has been part of the WSU Cougar community for nearly 3 years, previously working with career and advising services and coordinating reinstatement initiatives. Originally from Texas, Barbara earned her undergraduate degree in Anthropology with a focus in Archaeology from Texas State University. During her time at Texas State, Barbara conducted bioarcheological research with the St. George’s Archaeology Project in Belize, Central America. This transformative experience inspired her to pursue a career in International Education where she encourages WSU students to become Global Cougs! Barbara enjoys reading, stargazing, and exploring the natural landscape of the Palouse with her husband, son, and two daughters.
What advice would you give students preparing to go abroad?
Do your research before you go, be flexible, and make connections. Researching your destination and its cultural customs, history, climate, etc. will serve you well and prepare you for a more in-depth and robust experience. Being flexible will allow you to creatively solve any problems you may face and will open you up to experiencing things that you otherwise would not have experienced. Most importantly, making connections will allow you to fully immerse yourself into the culture of the country you are visiting. Making connections also allows you to continue your study abroad learning even after you’ve returned.
What advice would you give students returning from abroad?
Keep engaging with Global Learning! Once you return from studying abroad, you’ve gained experience, knowledge, and hopefully a passion for international education. Get involved on campus or within your field for opportunities to put this experience, knowledge, and passion to work. The benefits to studying abroad are endless and you’ll see this first-hand if you continue to connect with your experience, apply your knowledge, and embrace your passion!
What advice would you give students engaging globally from home?
Find something that you are passionate about and can engage with actively. The more you interact with whatever opportunity you choose (whether that is a virtual internship, attending online lectures or speaker series events, participating with webinars or workshops online, etc.) the more you will be excited to return and learn more. Students can engage online with many different opportunities they may not even know existed! Reach out to the WSU Global Learning office for more resources.
What is one of the most important lessons you learned abroad?
One of the most important lessons I learned from studying abroad is: Stay curious and display empathy. While traveling abroad, I learned the most by asking questions and sincerely listening to the answers. By interacting and collaborating, I was studying culture and customs from the source. I call on that experiential learning daily to provide context and to help build the framework from which I view the world as a whole.
Why do you work in International Education?
I work in International Education because I want to encourage and empower students to engage globally and experience something life-changing and rewarding, just like I did. I was a first generation, non-traditional student who never even had study abroad on her radar as a college student. But once I traveled and gained cultural experience and knowledge, all I wanted to do when I got home was encourage every Texas State student to study abroad. I still feel that way today and it rocks to be able to go to work every day and help Cougs become Global Cougs!