By: MELISSA SEYBOLDT
Lisa Zwicker began her role as director of international programs at IU South Bend over the summer, and she’s already looking forward to next summer with determination, hoping to recruit many students for the overseas study programs the university has lined up.
“When you grow up in a certain culture, you assume that the way you do things is the right way, and the way that it’s always been, and the way that it should be,” she said.
“When you see the way other people do things, I think we can see it as a part of an undergraduate’s education because it makes you think about your surroundings more critically, makes you appreciate aspects of where you grow up – but it also makes you call into question some things.”
Jason Rose, a history student at IUSB, agreed.
“We’re in a media age, so the world is kind of closing in,” he said. “The chance to go abroad to see other people allows you to experience what you’re getting bombarded with in the media and it gives you a different perspective.”
Short-term overseas destinations included in the 2014 schedule are Costa Rica (one during spring break and another during the second summer session), Berlin, Germany; Prague, Czech Republic; Florence, Italy; Oaxaca, Mexico; and Belize.
Costs range from $2,500 to $3,000 in addition to the cost of the course’s credit hours.
While these figures may seem steep to some, testimonials online and elsewhere uncover that students come home feeling they have learned priceless lessons and have gained confidence to take on career opportunities.
Alexandria Lechlitner, a new media major, went on a Florence, Italy trip this summer that focused on street photography.
“It helped me get out of my comfort zone knowing another culture, and build my portfolio as a graphic designer,” she said. “Street photography can be super intimidating because you have to take pictures of people surrounding you, and some people aren’t comfortable with it, but eventually you just have to let your nerves go and do it.”
Scott Sernau, a professor of sociology at IUSB, has led ten Costa Rica trips. He talked about how the travel experience has impacted students.
“My student assistant and her husband went to Costa Rica two years ago on the spring trip, and then she went back for a summer. She went on to be a translator and she’s in graduate school now for some sort of global education program.”
Most overseas trips fulfill general education requirements. Financial aid and scholarships are often available to buffer the cost for students who are eligible.
Zwicker, who is also a history professor at IUSB, helped lead a trip to Berlin and Prague in the summer of 2011 and shared her enthusiasm on being part of the journey.
“I want to help students have this experience – see the places that they’ve read about, go to these museums and see these paintings they’ve read about. Students in my class hear about the Berlin Wall, they know about it, and they can go to Berlin and walk along the line in the ground that traces the Berlin Wall – it makes history really real.”
Over the next month or two, The Preface will be previewing each of the five short-term study abroad destinations for 2014.
Open informational sessions on the spring break Costa Rica trip will be in Wiekamp 2210 on Wednesday, Sept. 18. Details and times can be found on the International Programs blog, iusboverseas.wordpress.com.
For more information on the study abroad programs visit iusb.edu/intl-programs or contact Lisa Zwicker at firstname.lastname@example.org