The International Education and Exchange Programs, which offers students the opportunity to spend a semester, year, summer, or spring/semester break studying in another country, is becoming one of the most popular programs available to UM students. Students can study as an exchange student at a university overseas where UM has exchange agreements, or students can travel with UM professors on short-term programs during the summer, spring break, or semester break.
“I will always remember my semester in Paris as one of the greatest periods in my college career,” said Laraine Martin, who studied at American University of Paris.
“There’s nothing like learning to live internationally – it will make you a better person in every way!”
Among the benefits of traveling abroad is the intensive practice of a foreign language and immersion into a new culture. Also, students in nearly every major can find classes in their field taught from a different point of view.
“I spent four months among the people of Japan,” said Ivan DeQuesada of his studies at Sophia University in Tokyo. “I lived with a host family and was completely immersed. I had the most knowledgeable teachers and the perfect classroom to study the one thing not taught accurately in any books – culture.”
“Just getting to know the culture and the people in Lausanne was as much of a learning experience as the classes I took at the University of Lausanne,” said Noah Nite, who studied during the 2004 spring semester Lausanne, Switzerland.
According to those working with the program, the earlier a student plans a semester abroad with an academic advisor, the easier it will be to meet any academic requirements. “First-year students are encouraged to consider a summer program abroad after their first year at UM,” said Chris Tingue, assistant director of the International Education and Exchange Program. “It’s best for students to plan study abroad into their program of study as early as they can.”
Historically, the most popular destinations for study abroad were in Western Europe. However, UM has recently seen an increase of participation in programs to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Australia, which is one of the most popular destinations for UM students.
“Going abroad to Australia was easily the greatest experience of my life,” said Barry Baker, who studied at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. “I learned so much, not only about what I am most passionate about in life, but about myself as a person as well.”
“When I was away in Australia, there was an adventure waiting to happen everyday,” said Katy Reinhard after her experiences at the University of Wollongong in Wollongong, Australia. “In five short months, I scuba dived on the Great Barrier Reef, saw an opera at the Sydney Opera House, hiked the mountains of Tasmania, saw crocodiles and Aboriginal artwork in the Northern Territory, camped next to wild dingoes on Fraser Island, and drank kava with villagers on a short stop in Fiji.”
On average, about 70 students study abroad for the fall semester, approximately 90 in the spring and around 300 students during the summer, semester, and spring breaks. The tuition cost and all aid and scholarships that an enrolled full-time student at UM has earned apply to study abroad. Some travel stipends are also offered.
“A study abroad experience is one of the most memorable experiences of a student’s college career,” said Glenda Hayley, director of International Education and Exchange Programs. “It enhances a student’s academic and cultural background while adding dimension to personal growth.” I
>>For more information about the exchange/study abroad programs at UM, contact the International Education and Exchange Programs office at 305-284-3434, or visit www.studyabroad.miami.edu.
Glenda Hayley contributed to this article.