On a wall in the study abroad office hangs a map with color coordinated thumb tacks representing each Oklahoma State student visiting another country.
On Jan. 26, 2015, there will be a thumb tack poked through a small country in Northern Europe and remain there until the end of the semester.
This tack will represent Chelsey Johnson, a strategic communications sophomore who will spend an entire semester as an exchange student at the University of Tartu, meeting other international students and exploring one of the most tech-savvy countries in the world, Estonia.
Maggie Jackson, OSU’s study abroad advisor, said Estonia is an awesome, non-traditional location that only two other OSU students have visited in the past.
“Chelsey will be one of the few American students there,” Jackson said. “She will dispel stereotypes for the United States and for Oklahoma, too.”
Jackson said Estonia is an excellent option for studying abroad because the cost of living is cheaper and most scholarships favor non-traditional locations.
“I had it narrowed down to the Netherlands, Malta and Estonia,” Johnson said. “I felt like if I really wanted to be immersed in another culture and get a once-in-a-lifetime experience it would be in Estonia.”
Johnson explained that Estonia is considered one of the most technologically connected countries, even deemed by many as E–stonia.
She said Estonia offers country–wide free Wi-Fi, invented Skype video chatting and developed the first paperless legislature. It was even referenced in one of Barack Obama’s jokes this year. Obama said Estonia should have helped the United States in setting up its troublesome healthcare website.
Joshua M. Pontrelli, the student exchange coordinator, said when he visited Estonia he struggled to buy a bus pass because he was not aware the only way to acquire one was via text or through the Internet.
“They do everything with the Internet,” Pontrelli said. “All services are done online, even voting.”
Johnson will not only be visiting a technologically advanced country, but will also be pursuing her education, taking courses that will contribute to a minor in Russian and Eastern European studies at OSU. . . . .