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Study abroad offers levels of cultural immersion; summer deadline nears

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For some students, immersing themselves in a foreign culture is part of a college education.

Summer study abroad programs receive the most applicants, followed by spring break and winter programs, said Grace Johnson, Ohio State director of study abroad. Those wanting to study abroad in summer should apply before the Feb. 1 deadline.

Students express the most interest in traveling abroad to western European countries, especially the United Kingdom, just ahead of programs in the Spanish-speaking areas of Latin America and Spain, Johnson said.

The Office of International Affairs offers two main program options: OSU-sponsored programs and third-party provider programs.

Third-party provider programs are managed through other institutions, but students still receive OSU credit and work directly with OSU study abroad coordinators, Johnson said.

The Council on Educational Exchange manages two new third-party programs traveling to Thailand and Cambodia that have been added to the list of 15 third-party programs for 2010-11.

OSU-sponsored programs are founded by an academic unit at OSU that collaborates with the Office of International Affairs to establish programs for students to earn OSU academic credit abroad.

Some of these programs traveling to Thailand and Egypt, along with “Global Gateway” programs going to Brazil and China, are new additions to the 60-70 OSU-sponsored programs.

Global Gateway programs are one month long and target first- and second-year students of any major.

“We are hoping to create more programs that are open to all majors to give a good introduction to study abroad,” Johnson said.

Anthony Green, a second-year in accounting, studied in Bolivia over spring break last year. He applied to the Gateway to China program for this summer because China has big value in the business world to build his resume and because Gateway programs are English-based.

While in the country, Green took tours of ancient ruins and historical areas of the country. The experience was “way better than expected,” Green said.

Each study abroad program has different eligibility requirements, such as levels of language and grade, but all require good academic standing, Johnson said.

The application is available in the student center on Buckeye Link and requires an advising report attachment, a one-page personal statement about one’s academic interests and motivation to study abroad, sending an academic recommendation invitation to an OSU faculty member and paying a $150 application fee upon submission.

The first step to researching study abroad is to attend a “Getting Started Session” held at 122 Oxley Hall at 12 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays and at 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, Johnson said.

These sessions, as well as the study abroad website, help students identify what type of programs are available and assist with the application process, Johnson said.

“Approximately 18 percent to 20 percent of students have studied abroad in the course of their undergraduate career at Ohio State,” Johnson said. She said the Office of International Affairs would like see a significant rise in this percentage.

There is no limit to the amount of times students may study abroad.

Ellen Noe, a second-year in development studies, is in the Dominican Republic on her second study abroad, after studying in Bolivia over spring break with Green. The opportunity to experience a different culture gave her insight into what she wanted to pursue in college, Noe said in an e-mail.

“The Dominican Republic program is very intense because on most days we have class from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and then from 2 p.m. to around 5 p.m.,” Noe said. She also said the native students and professors are welcoming.

“I would absolutely love to do another program,” Noe said, expressing interest in the OSU-sponsored Spanish language program in Rosario, Argentina, and development program in Indonesia.

Optimally, students should look into studying abroad a minimum of six months prior to application deadlines, Johnson said.

A list of study abroad locations ranging from Argentina to Wales is provided on the study abroad website,oia.osu.edu/study-abroad.

 

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