Study abroad opportunities abound

The International Education and Exchange Programs, which offers students the opportunity to spend a semester, year, summer or spring break studying in another country, is 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.

“I will 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.”

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.

“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. Generally students study abroad for the semester or year after their second year at UM; however, first-year students are encouraged to consider a summer program after their first year at UM.

Historically, the most popular destinations for study abroad were in Western Europe, but UM has seen an increase in programs to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin America and particularly Australia.

“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.

“I spent four months in Japan,” Ivan DeQuesada said 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.”

For more information, contact the International Education and Exchange Programs office at 305-284-3434 or visit

Jaclyn Lisenby contributed to this article.