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As spring break has come to an end, traveling is still on many students’ minds. Traversing to distant countries is often a dream, yet many may not know where to begin. The Study Abroad program is seeks to meet that end.
Purpose of studying abroad
It is crucially important to learn international skills even if one will never leave the country. Elaine Philippa, Manager of the International Student Services and Study Abroad Manager, says, “We are becoming a more and more diverse society and people in any sector of the economy have to have some ability to communicate, problem solve, and connect with people from different backgrounds.” She works with about 200 students annually, including 96 enrolled in programs this year
Students looking to travel abroad are usually those seeking adventure or do not like taking “the easy way out.” Spending time in another country is also incredibly beneficial to personal development as well as improves one’s resume.
Adding study abroad experience to a resume shows potential employers that an applicant is up for a challenge, and has necessary interpersonal skills in a multicultural marketplace.
Faculty led programs
Faculty led programs are one of three options offered through the study abroad program. These opportunities are class specific and overseen by the teaching staff. A professor in a given discipline will create a class around a specific topic. Students who sign up will then travel to a foreign country for two or three weeks.
Exchange student programs
Exchange programs are overseen by the university. UW-Parkside has connection with foreign institutions and they use that to the students benefit. Students would travel to another institution in a chosen country for the semester. The exchange program last longer than faculty led programs, and are the most affordable option.
Study abroad provider agreements
Students can also choose from hundreds of programs from companies that provide opportunities. Programs can take place over the summer, fall, winterim or spring semesters. Some providers even offer year-long programs! The Study Abroad office will facilitate the student-to-provider connection.
Paying for expenses
The biggest roadblock for students interested in traveling abroad is funding. The Study Abroad office does provide options. The exchange program is the most affordable: a student only needs to pay their UW-Parkside tuition, and sometimes it even even cheaper than that!
There are also grant opportunities for those with a 2.5 GPA and filed for FAFSA. Another grant, the Gilman scholarship, is available to those students eligible for the Pell grant. The Gilman scholarship is given away to thousands of students and offers five thousand dollars to travel.
Upcoming program opportunities
This summer, there will be opportunities for computer science and bioscience in Germany, as well as business programs in Italy.
Next winterim, there will be opportunities for Spanish on a trip to Guatemala. The Study Abroad office is also developing a political science program to go to Cuba.
Next spring break, the Study Abroad office is offering a cultural tour in Paris, France, as well as a political science trip to Chiapas, Mexico, which is a very affordable option.
Contacting the office
Philippa strongly encourages anyone interested in gaining life skills and seeking a new experience to schedule a time with her to discuss the many opportunities waiting! Her office number is 209 located in Greenquist Hall. Philippa can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.