University to push more study abroad opportunities
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 18:10
Roosevelt University will host a study abroad fair this Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Fainman Lounge. The same day, “Journey: The Rhythm of Blackness in Brazil” will highlight Roosevelt student Olatunji Oboi Reed’s six-month stay in Brazil from 5-7:30 p.m. in the Congress Lounge.
The focus of both events is to inform and inspire students about study abroad opportunities at the university.
“I think it’s something the university has to be doing,” said Joanne Canyon-Heller, assistant provost for International Academic Programs and Summer Sessions. “It’s important for us all to have that opportunity to look at things in a more globalized way.”
The university offers three different kinds of study abroad programs to students. General study abroad is done in conjunction with other organizations and is typically a semester long program. Faculty-led programs are taught through the university and have class sessions here and spend a few weeks abroad with two university faculty members. Student exchange programs involve agreements with other universities to swap students.
“We have opportunities for students of every major,” Canyon-Heller said. “We want to work with CCPA next. That’ll be really neat for them. We want to make sure that anybody can go.”
Opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students are available, and the university works with about 10 outside organizations to find fitting study abroad programs for students.
“We want to change the focus to be a lot more student-oriented,” Canyon-Heller said. “We’re looking to find the right places for our students to go. We look at what they’re going to be doing on the trip, if it’s service learning based, if it will help them in their major, if it’s cultural. All of these things have to be talked about, individually.”
Four faculty-led programs in the College of Arts and Sciences are being organized for upcoming semesters: a multicultural psychology course to Guatemala, a biology course to Tanzania, an integrated marketing communications course to Madrid and Barcelona and a history course to Scandinavia.
“We have [individual] students going to Ghana, Malta, Beijing, Krakow, Prague, Nicaragua, across the world,” Canyon-Heller said. “They’ve been working with revolutionaries and really amazing people. There are lots of options.”
According to Canyon-Heller, most students partake in the general study abroad option because it allows them the most flexibility to choose their destinations and subjects of study.
On average, study abroad and student exchange programs cost about the same as tuition with the addition of airfare. Faculty-led programs range from $1800-$4000. Prices vary depending on length of trips, as well.
“Students should start planning a year in advance, if they can,” Canyon-Heller said. “Start going to study abroad fairs right away. Make sure the courses they’ve already taken will be okay for the trip. We also want to make sure it won’t hold them back and that they can still graduate in four years. We want to be sure they meet deadlines for scholarships. We’re very careful to look at all these things.”
Canyon-Heller said she believes Thursday’s fair will have a good turnout.
“There’s a different kind of buzz about study abroad than in the past,” she said. “Students can get the opportunity to talk to people who’ve been a part of it.”
Reed participated in the School for International Training’s “Brazil: Public Health, Race and Human Rights” program in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil spring 2012. The program was 15 weeks long and offered 16 credit hours from four courses.
“The purpose of the program is to investigate health care realities, policies and delivery systems among disadvantaged groups in the Brazilian state of Bahia,” Reed said. “Personally, I sought to gain a greater sense of awareness of the global village and a more intense and practical connection to my dream of making the world a better place. I sincerely believed that my journey will be the beginning of an enduring, strong, healthy relationship between myself and the city of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.”
Reed added that he utilized the program to advance his career in health and urban economics and advance his research and observation skills academically.
The program was sponsored by SIT Study Abroad and involved coursework, lectures, seminars, site visits, educational excursions and homestays. Reed was able to work with physicians, nurses, government health officials, political activists, urban and rural residents and representatives from international non-governmental organizations.
“My experience in Brazil was incredibly transformative,” Reed said. “My perspective has infinitely expanded, realizing now that my reality is beyond our fair city and even our country. My potential is only limited by my vision and my work. My home is our planet, nothing less, and I am a global citizen, nothing less. This realization came as a result of the physical, mental, social and spiritual challenges I struggled to overcome in Brazil.”
“It’s amazing what happens to people when they return,” Canyon-Heller said. “They just understand so much more about the world. People say if anyone is at all of an introvert, it helps to change that about them. Getting out of that comfort zone is one of the key things we need to do for ourselves before we get out of our universities.”