For most, summer is usually a time for fun, relaxation and maybe a vacation in some exotic location. But for others, summer might just offer another opportunity: study abroad.
This past summer, those students who opted to spend their summers abroad had the choice of 16 direct enrollment and 20 faculty-led programs offered by the International Education and Exchange Programs department.
Among the most popular were the Grand Tour of Europe led by Tomas Lopez-Gottardi, director of undergraduate studies in the School of Architecture, and direct enrollment at both the London School of Economics and Oxford University.
Faculty-led programs were also offered by the School of Communication in both Spain and the People’s Republic of China.
Jay Dryburgh, a junior and broadcast journalism major, was one of seven students enrolled in the journalism program based out of Shanghai, PRC.
Enrolled for six credits, Dryburgh was required to write two stories a week, but on the weekends, from Thursday to Sunday, he and the rest of the students would travel to surrounding cities and take in the sights.
“While you’re there you feel this pressure to see everything you possibly can,” Dryburgh said, citing Hong Kong’s “world’s largest Buddha statue” as one of his favorite sights.
“With a five-week program, you fall into a routine,” he said. “You get really close to the group yet keep a level of independence.”
Dryburgh hopes to take part in another study abroad program in the future, possibly in Spain.
“The convenience of going through the study abroad program really makes things easier,” he said. “I really recommend it, because it’s the only way to have everything taken care of [when going abroad].”
Professor Bruce Garrison, a journalism professor in the School of Communication, led the China program and believes any study abroad opportunity is an incredible educational experience.
“Anything students can do that helps them understand what’s going on in the world is important,” Garrison said.
For programs that are not yet offered by the IEEP office, study abroad coordinator Amy Cosan encourages students to take matters into their own hands.
“One of our goals is to have more professors interested in leading programs outside of architecture and communications,” Cosan said. “Students should go up to professors and encourage them to start a program.”
Beginning next summer, there are plans to send students to the University of Innsbruck in Austria for a program that will offer students courses in English.
IEEP is also looking to begin a direct enrollment semester program in Berlin, Germany, Cosan said.
Students must hold sophomore standing in order to participate in any of the study abroad programs offered, which means many students can enroll to be abroad during their first summer in college.
Those who prefer security should consider faculty-led programs while students seeking more independence can directly enroll in a foreign university.
One common concern among students is encountering a language or culture barrier, but most students who have been immersed in a foreign city said they are able to cope.
“It can be kind of frustrating,” Dryburgh said. “But you laugh at yourself and have fun at the same time.”
For those students interested in studying abroad, a study abroad fair will take place on Sept. 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Lower Lounge of the UC. Also, an information session will take place on Sept. 19 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Flamingo Ballroom.
Megan Ondrizek may be contacted at email@example.com.