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Going abroad: Study abroad programs offer learning opportunities, unique experiences

–lsapp@my.apsu.edu

While it may seem like a vacation, studying abroad is more than a simple trip to another country. Studying abroad is a great way to immerse yourself in a country’s culture while earning credit hours, according to English professor Jill Franks.

“After a study abroad experience, students may desire to live in another country,” Franks said. Short term study abroad programs last between one to six weeks and include 10 to 30 students accompanied by APSU faculty. Included in the study abroad programs are exchange and consortium programs, as well as internships.

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The exchange program offers an opportunity to earn up to 12 credit hours and can last one or two semesters. Studies occur at a partner university, and students can travel independently. Consortium programs allow students to travel with students and faculty from other universities, while internships offer the opportunity to work in another country for five to nine weeks. Currently, APSU has consortium and internship programs located in Australia, Belize, Ghana, Hong Kong, Ireland and Jamaica, among others.

Many faculty members believe studying abroad lends itself to increasing students’ abilities to become open to other viewpoints and, thus, their abilities to absorb more material. English professor Kenneth Cervelli, who went on his first study abroad as a faculty member to London this winter break, referred to the concept as the “immerse impact.”

“[The experience] creates a connective environment and a sense of being both places at one time,” Cervelli said. Cervelli, while in London, chose to focus on romantic poets such as Blake, Wordsworth and Keats. The class travelled to places these poets had visited to better understand their work.

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Political science professor Matthew Kenney, who leads an “AP Goes Global” trip to Valencia, Trinidad and Tobago where students assist Habitat for Humanity, thinks the service-learning project is valuable for students. “What the students find most enjoyable is the work … where they really feel they’re making a contribution to something,” Kenney said.

While safety during travel is always a concern, French professor Karen Sorenson said university policies help to prevent international incidents. “Tennessee Board of Regents policy does not permit APSU to send students on study abroad or exchange programs to countries that are under a State Department travel warning,” Sorenson said. Sorenson believes studying abroad “prepares students for a global society.”

Study abroad opportunities for fall and winter 2013 are currently available. Students interested in taking a class abroad can contact International Education at InternationalEd@apsu.edu or in Harned Hall, Room 127.

“It gave me an eye-opening experience,” said nursing student Hanna Tweedy of her study abroad. “There’s a lot out there to see.”

About Linda Sapp, Staff Writer

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