Genoan endorses studying abroad
“Nothing so liberalizes a man and expands the kindly nature put in him as travel and contact with many kinds of people.”
June 23, 1867
Studying abroad was something that Genoa resident and University of Nevada, Reno, student Connor Billman would recommend to anyone as part of their university experience.
Billman did a year in the southern corner of Brazil as part of the university’s study abroad program.
He was inspired to try it while on an internship for his agricultural degree in Nebraska.
“One of the biggest things people said they missed was not going on a study abroad program,” he said. “You’re able to do it at a really good time of your life when you have the flexibility to do what you want to do.”
Billman is the son of Genoa ranchers Cory and Terry Billman. He is easily a fifth generation Carson Valley resident.
He said that even with the plane ticket, the cost for him to spend the year in Florianópolis was about the same as living in Reno and attending classes.
“I think there’s a lot of options,” he said. “When people look at study abroad, they go ‘oh I can’t afford that.’ Some programs are more expensive, but the one at UNR was very affordable.
Billman lived with a family in Florianópolis, which is located south of Rio de Janero and consists of a city that stretches from the mainland to an island.
“I studied on an island famous for its 42 beaches,” he said.
He said that he didn’t make it to Rio, but he did go to larger, more tourist-oriented locations.
He said that meant being aware of your surroundings, which is a good idea wherever you travel.
“In general you can get around really safely in those areas,” he said. “Even not knowing the language, you can travel around really well. I went down with no Portuguese and was able to get around.”
While he did go to a sheep operation, he didn’t take any specifically agricultural classes.
He said he took a lot of Portuguese and wildlife classes, which will transfer directly to his degree.
“With my program, all my credits and scholarships transferred right over,” he said. He expects to graduate next spring with the class of 2020.
When he graduates, he plans to join the Peace Corps and hopes he can use his new Portuguese in someplace like Mozambique.
“It was really cool as a personal experience,” the 2016 Douglas High graduate said. “I got to see a very different way that people live, and that gave me perspective on how I live myself. It provided a lot of area for personal growth.”
He said there are more than two dozen Study Abroad programs at the university.