The World is Your Classroom

student provides check-up in service learning experience

An online degree experience at The Ohio State University involves so much more than screen time. Many experiential learning and professional development opportunities are available through, and supported by, the university. It takes some work to coordinate travel activities around your job, courses, and family responsibilities, but an all-online course load does make planning a little easier. Consider ways to see a new city while gaining valuable professional experience, building your network, and maybe earn some course credits while you’re at it.

Professional Development and Training

Getting out of town for conferences or intensive training sessions can be good for your brain. Escape housekeeping responsibilities, your constant stream of email, and all of your office's cultural obstacles against a new, better way of doing things. A new space can help you keep an open mind and make the best of your experience surrounded by experts as well as peers in other organizations. These opportunities can help you take a fresh look at the big-picture approach to your work and strengthen tactical skills your industry needs.

Not all conferences and trainings are created equal. Talk to a classmate or an instructor for recommendations on the best offerings for your goals.

Service Learning

Get to know a community in-depth by working alongside the locals on a service learning trip. Ohio State initiatives like Buck-I-Serv coordinate domestic and international volunteering opportunities. You can find specific opportunities that fit into your field: A New Orleans trip can provide real life insights into the impact of civil engineering decisions, while a homelessness outreach program can show the opportunities for educational and social support services.

If you’re looking to contribute the skills you’re learning in class, find an organization that specializes in donating services you can provide. PODEMOS, for example, is an Ohio State student-led nonprofit that provides health care to vulnerable communities in Honduras.


Sometimes the perfect environment for your research project is outside of your own town. Ohio State is connected to research work all over the globe—even Antarctica, and research funding is available, especially if you’re setting out to collect evidence that closes important gaps in knowledge.

You can also present your findings at a summit, while meeting leaders in your field and finding new opportunities for collaboration. To make the most of your international or national summit, you’ll want to be more than just a spectator.

Your Program’s Curriculum

Some programs offer special study abroad opportunities that earn credit as part of your curriculum, and most accommodate build-it-yourself opportunities or interdisciplinary trips like those listed above. Ultimately, you’ll want to talk to your academic advisor about exploring these opportunities to learn about how they’ll fit into your schedule.

Ohio State Resources

University-Wide Grants

Alumni Grants for Graduate Research and Scholarship

Council of Graduate Student grants

Office of International Affairs

Education Abroad website

Office of Student Life

Get involved through a student organization or another service and outreach program.

Your College

Most colleges offer funding opportunities for students looking to grow academically and professionally. Ask your advisor and submit an awesome application—most are selective awards.