By: KATE LUCE
The university is offering 10 study abroad trips for the summer. The deadline of Feb. 1 is quickly approaching.
“Students need to apply by the deadline because we are making plane reservations. We are making reservations for accommodations. Also, if we don’t have enough students, we are not able to run the trip,” said Dr. Lisa Zwicker, director of international programs.
Trips currently being offered include Athens, Greece, Belize, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Florence, Italy, Iceland, Japan, London and Edinburgh, England and Mexico.
“I think you have a chance to see the places you read about in books or that you hear about in lectures. You can actually visit the museums and see the art. You can go see theatre performances. Let’s say you are studying Spanish, you can go to a place where they actually speak Spanish with local, native speakers,” Zwicker said.
Each trip offers students the opportunity to take either core classes or classes that would coincide with a student’s major. For example, the study abroad trip to Athens offers a credit in Business and Society, which is a general education course, but if a student is a business major the credit could go towards his or her major.
A study abroad trip gives students both a credit towards their degree and an opportunity to be invested in the culture of a country for a month. The cost of each trip includes airfare, room and board and IU field trips. It does not include the price of tuition.
There are some misconceptions of studying abroad. For starters, you do not need to speak another language for most trips. Usually, the professor who is in charge of the trip or other students will know the local language. However, there are chances to learn the local language during the time spent on the trip.
“The biggest misconception is that it is so expensive that you are not going to be able to afford it. That is the biggest barrier for students is the cost. It is expensive, but students that are eligible for financial aid can use the financial aid for the cost of the travel,” Zwicker said.
With cost aside, Zwicker highlights the cultural benefits of a study abroad program.
“By studying abroad, you are actually demonstrating that you have skills that are really needed in the workplace. You can communicate with other people. You can connect with people that maybe have a different background than you do. You’re demonstrating that you are adaptable, that you are flexible because you are in a new place. All those things do make you stand out in the workplace,” Zwicker said.
Students who have taken part in these programs also state that their experiences have helped them develop important skills.
Kenton Service, history major, states that his experience on the Japan trip helped him with thinking independently. After learning these skills, he wants to go back and visit Japan again.
“It helps you function independently when you are in that environment. It is such a foreign environment, and you don’t really know your way around. I remember I got lost in Japan. It’s super safe, but I did get lost and had to find my way around. It just took me a really long time. I couldn’t communicate very well with everybody. I kind of had to stumble my way around. I did end up getting into the hostel just fine,” Service said.
For more information or to apply for study abroad visit: academics.iusb.edu/international-programs.