Jet-set summers

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February 8, 2008

5:16 PM

__Summer offers a more flexible study abroad option for students wary of missing a semester on campus__

p. Each year, approximately 600 students from the College study abroad, according to the Reves Center for International Studies. While students differ in their reasons for going abroad, one of the most common motivation students cite is the opportunity to take classes that enhance their majors.

p. Kurt Steinhouse ’08 chose to study abroad in Rome during the spring of 2007 to enhance his art history major.

p. “I took classes on Baroque Rome and medieval Rome and a drawing and landscape painting class, both of which I enjoyed a lot,” he said. “All of my classes were on-site so, I never looked at a single slide the entire time I was there. You learn so much more when you’re actually looking at the art in person.”

p. The opportunity to experience new cultures is key to any study abroad programs. “I got to do things I never though I’d do,” Ashley Pinney ’08 said. “I went to the Olympics in Torino. I visited six different countries, tried new food and new languages. I saw Michelangelo’s ‘David’ and Botticellis.”

p. Pinney added that she enjoyed choosing a study abroad program unaffiliated with the College.

p. “One cool thing about a non-William and Mary program is that I met people I never would’ve met otherwise,” she said.

p. For students who want to study abroad but whose academics or interests tie them to the College during the academic year, summer study abroad programs are an alternative option.

p. Kim Parker ’09 studied abroad in Barbados during the summer of 2007 because her decision to double major in business and psychology during her sophomore year kept her from going abroad during the school year.

p. “I could never have fit in all the necessary coursework if I’d have left for a semester,” she said. “I also had leadership positions in clubs and didn’t want to miss out on the opportunities that were available here on campus.”

p. Parker reported that her experience with a College-sponsored program was positive.

p. “I would recommend William and Mary programs because they’re often taught by faculty, so you get to know a professor well. And the Reves Center has a lot to offer for people from every major.”

p. The increasing popularity of summer study abroad programs such as these has prompted the College to develop new programs. This summer, the Mason School of Business will launch a new summer study abroad program in Budapest.

p. “As part of our strategic plan for the undergraduate program in the business school, we have made a commitment to provide our graduates with a global perspective,” said Professor William Geary, assistant dean of undergraduate programs and an associate professor of accounting in the business school. “This is accomplished inside and outside of our William and Mary classrooms. Our faculty has endorsed the goal of including an international experience for every graduate.”

p. Geary said that the College selected the program’s location for several reasons. “Our host university is Corvinus, an excellent university,” Geary said. “Both the university and the housing are located in a very vibrant downtown district in the center of Budapest. It was also important to us to select a location other than western Europe so students will gain added insight by being outside of their comfort zone.”

p. Geary cited practical reasons in favor of this summer program.
“This location provides a much better value than most other European locations, given the currency exchange rates,” he said. “Budapest is a wonderful European capital that is on the verge of being discovered. Weekend travel opportunities are excellent, and the Budapest-Vienna connection is very strong.”

p. The program dates were designed to appeal to busy business students. “Our students have different objectives and different constraints. For example, some students are planning summer internships, others are involved in athletics and, for others, the financial challenges dictate the need to seek out exchange programs,” Geary said. “So, we have been intentional in pursuing a summer program offered later in the summer … to allow for the possibility of work or an early summer internship.” The program will begin July 10.

p. In addition to business classes, the Budapest program includes a study trip to Prague and several pre-arranged visits to business and government agencies in Budapest. Students who complete the program will receive seven credit hours, including credit for a required strategy course.

p. The Budapest program is open to students of all majors who have completed the prerequisites for the business program: a minimum of 54 credits, microeconomics and macroeconomics, introductory statistics, calculus and an introductory accounting course. Geary said that the business school may consider waiving some of these requirements for students interested in the program. The credit requirement, however, will remain in place.

p. In addition to the Budapest program, the College offers roughly 14 other summer programs led by College faculty. Partnerships with 16 institutions around the world, from the University of Adelaide in Australia to Keio University, Tokyo, allow the cost of study abroad to match that of usual College tuition. Five College-sponsored programs in Argentina, China, England, Scotland and Spain offer students the security of easy enrollment and credit transfer back to the College.

p. Faculty and students alike about study abroad experiences with excitement.

p. “It’s all about experiential learning,” Geary said. “And the personal experiences that students will create are likely to be among some of the most powerful memories of their undergraduate studies. We also hope that the participants will come back into their familiar worlds able to be more aware and conscious of the forces and choices that shape their lives.”

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