The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Study Abroad program expanded, transformed

“If we want a new generation of leaders and innovators who can be effective in an ever more globalized world, sending our students overseas is not a luxury,” travel writer Rick Steves wrote in USA Today on Jan. 18. “It’s a necessity.”

Which is why Guilford is expanding its study abroad program.

“You’re not getting a complete education that prepares you for the world unless you have studying abroad as part of that education,” said Daniel Diaz, Study Abroad program assistant.

To help make this vision a reality, Guilford’s Study Abroad office has undergone a dramatic transformation.

Professor of Theatre Studies Jack Zerbe took over as the director of Study Abroad last May. Zerbe and Diaz, who also came to the department in May, have brought new energy and vision with them.

“There are no limits to our imagination about what we think could be possible,” said Zerbe. “We have never said about something we were contemplating, ‘Well, we just can’t do that here.’ That has never been our first response to anything.”

So what exactly are these changes? One of the biggest is the Study Abroad website.

Now, students can easily explore all their study abroad options on an easily navigable webpage. The website offers an advanced search option, where you can filter your results by country, major, term or provider.

The new site also offers student testimonials, a photo gallery, myths about study abroad, information on deadlines and scholarships, and application instructions. The application process now happens exclusively online.

“It’s one-stop shopping,” said Zerbe.

Not only is the new website more informative and user-friendly, but the options for studying abroad have increased.

Now students can study abroad year-round, with options in the spring, summer, fall and the new January term.

“What’s changing is tons of summer (programs),” said Zerbe. “And students can go this summer. … If you’re going to take summer school, why not make it an international summer school experience?”

While summer school has been around for years, the January term is something completely new for Guilford, with exciting new possibilities being explored for studying abroad during January terms.

Among the many programs being considered, a few include: international relations and human rights in the Netherlands; integrating sport, culture, health, and well-being in Australia; an acting-intensive program in Dublin, Ireland; an American Friends Service Committee service trip in Havana, Cuba; and shark behavior and conservation in Fiji.

While there are only a handful of Guilford-run programs, including Guilford-affiliated programs, there are over 300 study abroad options to pick from, according to Zerbe.

The selection is not only becoming more extensive, but also more inclusive. The Study Abroad office wants to add a program specially designed to enhance each and every major offered at Guilford.

“By the end of this year my guess is we’ll have a quarter of the departments covered,” said Zerbe. “By the end of next year we’ll probably have all of them. So students’ idea that ‘I can’t study my major abroad’ is no longer true.”

For example, Study Abroad just added a program in Vienna that allows music majors to continue their studies in voice, music history and music theory.

Senior Courtney Mandeville, a biology and environmental studies double major, studied abroad in Costa Rica during Spring 2011. According to Mandeville, studying abroad can be beneficial in enhancing your major, and preparing you for life beyond college.

“Especially for science majors, there are opportunities to get an idea of what it’s like to actually do research,” said Mandeville. “And sometimes people are able to carry that on to thesis work.”

Continuing their desire for inclusivity, Study Abroad is now reaching out to CCE students as well.

“Twenty-eight percent of traditional students go abroad,” said Zerbe. “However, half of our campus is adult students and less than one percent of them go abroad.”

Though CCE students are often in a different situation than traditional students, Diaz and Zerbe want to make it clear that they still have the option of studying abroad, especially with the advent of the three-week January term programs.

“I realize there may be a lot of things that tie (CCE students) down and make you think that you can’t (study abroad) but, for example, we have a woman in Ghana right now,” said Diaz. “She’s 62 years old and this is her first time leaving the United States. She’s living with a host family and she’s studying abroad with our traditional students in Ghana.”

Study Abroad is also reaching out to faculty.

“We’re going to send faculty on these development seminars, because the way for students to get better advising is for the faculty to know more,” said Zerbe. “We want to send the faculty to international locations. … We’re really serious about this.”

In the end, the Study Abroad office is trying to extend these opportunities and prepare students for life after college.

Senior Jake Kresloff, who studied abroad in Brunnenburg, Italy, and works as an office assistant in the Study Abroad office, agrees that it is a life-changing experience.

“You learn so many skill sets when you go abroad,” said Kresloff. “You learn money management skills, … time management skills, …  leadership skills, communication skills, problem solving skills. When I came back from Brunnenburg, I learned so much more about myself. You’ll never be able to exchange it for anything.”

So if you have a desire to study abroad, go to the website ( or drop by the office (King 112) to chat.

As Zerbe said, “If you want to go, we make it possible for you to go.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Guilfordian intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Guilfordian does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Guilfordian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *