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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Study abroad pairs academic and travel opportunities

On Sept. 8, the 4th annual study abroad fair was held: Inquisitive students moved around tables with looks of excitement at the prospect of studying abroad.A major theme of the Strategic Long Range Plan (SLRP) Committee at Guilford is the emphasis on experiential learning. A study abroad program is one approach to fulfill that mission. Over a third of the students at Guilford’s main campus take advantage of the study abroad programs available.

“Plan ahead with your particular advisor and then come by the study abroad office,” said Jim Hood, director of the study abroad program. “The greatest impediment to study abroad is lack of planning. Make sure you check your curricular requirements..”

The study abroad programs at Guilford offer a variety of choices that fit each student’s needs. A total of 14 Guilford-affiliated program locations are available and organized in a way where a student directly enrolls with the participating foreign university.

There are five Guilford-led programs and they involve a faculty leader choosing a certain number of students for a program. Student’s options range from locations such as Ghana, London, Munich, Siena, and Brunnenburg.

In addition, the School for Field Studies (SFS) is a Guilford-affiliated program that engages students in field research in locations such as Australia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Mexico, or the Turks and Caicos Islands. The program encourages collaboration between local community partners and students to address crucial environmental problems.

Senior and biology major, Riley Ramage,studied abroad in Tanzania and Kenya.

“I think the process was fairly simple,” said Ramage. ” At the beginning, I was a little confused about all the different things I needed to get done in order to study abroad, but once I went to the study abroad office everyone was very helpful and basically gave me a step-by-step packet of everything I needed to do and get signed.”

Internships are another way for students to experience both the world and a potential career at the same time.

Senior and English major Chelsea Rivas, studied abroad in Sienna, Italy last spring semester. She interned as an English teacher at the La Scuola Bandini and taught English to 15 and 16 year-olds.

“The experience helped me learn Italian and made me consider teaching English again in other countries,” said Rivas.

“I think being able to experience my potential future work environment first-hand was extremely valuable in forming my ideas about what I want to do with my life,” said Ramage. “For a long time I’ve thought doing research in the field would be something I would really enjoy, and I was able to try it out before I made a real commitment.”

If accepted to a Guilford-led program, students are also required to take an orientation class.

“The Guilford-led orientation is very extensive and will cover things such as cultural mores and practices,” said Hood.

The orientation process includes planning your trip and tips from booking your flight to making the most of your time abroad.

“If you’re nervous about travel, there is a faculty leader or on-site person to help you,” said Miriam Collins, assistant director for study abroad. “There is always support.”

A student participating in either the affiliated or Guilford-led programs is still recognized as a Guilford student. The grades received will be recorded on a Guilford transcript, just as if the student was taking the classes on campus.

Guilford-affiliated programs are usually equal in cost to a full-residential semester at Guilford, and if a student has a scholarship it will continue to apply to their overall semester costs.

The Institute of International Education reported that “the number of Americans studying abroad increased by 8.5 percent to 262,416 in the 2007-2008 academic years.

This latest increase builds on decades of steady growth, with four times as many U.S. students participating in study abroad in 2007-2008 than in 1987-1988.”

Annie Irving ’08 is a Guilford alum who studied abroad in Scotland. She was present at the study abroad fair as an international officer and study abroad/exchange co-coordinator at the University of Dundee in Scotland.

“Do it,” said Irving. “These programs will open horizons and doors for you.”

Senior and biology major Ellee Stapelton. studied abroad in Costa Rica last spring semester. “It was awesome to be immeresed in what you study on a whole different level, 24 hours a day., said Stapelton. “Getting to know the people on an individual basis, for me, demonstrates a level of humanity that transcends culture.

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