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New Program Models Make Study Abroad Accessible to All

This summer, with TU offering reduced summer tuition, students are encouraged to take advantage of the comprehensive faculty-led study abroad opportunities offered through the Center for Global Education.

Semester study abroad has always been a highly popular and affordable option for students hoping to seize international experiences. However, the Center for Global Education recognizes that every student is different, and every study abroad participant comes in with different goals. Global opportunities aren’t cookie cutter – and they shouldn’t be.

Over the past year, TU has seen a radical increase in faculty-led courses going abroad. More models, more subjects – more options for students. From 2017 to 2018, TU nearly tripled faculty-led fall and spring enrollments from 35 to 96. Six new courses and seven new instructors have been added to the faculty-led study abroad course offerings for 2018.

Part of this growth is attributed to the new faculty-led program model. Students can now enroll in a spring course with a post-semester travel option, in which faculty and students go abroad after the completion of the course. Previously, the only option had been during fall or spring break or a summer session course. The CGE believes this option has opened the door for more faculty to consider teaching a faculty-led course. 

Aside from new models and new course options, the increase in faculty-led enrollment can also be attributed to its convenience. Many TU students have commitments to various obligations, whether it’s a part-time job, an internship, a leadership role, a research project, or family matters – short term faculty-led study abroad makes sense for many students. The program fee is highly comprehensive, covering airfare, housing, excursions, and most meals. In addition, all the faculty-led models give students a chance to learn in depth about the course material, while not having to commit to being gone for a long period of time.

“The length of the programs help students who are struggling to find time in their academic programs to study abroad,” says Assistant Director of Short Term Global Programs Candice Chinsethagid. “In addition, faculty-led programs help students who are nervous about studying abroad get their feet wet while traveling with a faculty member they know and the other students from their class.”

“Traveling on a faculty-led trip to Berlin and Budapest was the first time I left the United States,” said TU student Anna Bebermeyer, who has now participated in two faculty-led trips and a semester studying abroad in France. “It was the perfect way to learn how to be a savvy traveler because I had a degree of independence, but still the leadership, support, and safety net of the TU staff on the trip. I felt so supported while also getting to feel the excitement that comes with traveling as a student.” 

Much like Bebermeyer, many students who leave the country for the first time on a faculty-led program develop interest in going abroad again for a summer or semester program. And many students who return from a semester or summer abroad find faculty-led programs to be a great opportunity to squeeze more international experience into their time at TU.

While being gone for a few weeks is a different experience than being gone for a few months, students still find the experience of a faculty-led trip extremely valuable.

“Now, I only spent a few weeks in Ghana each time I went with TU,” said TU alumna and staff member Kelsey Hancock, who has traveled with the Tulsa2Ghana class as both student and staff. “The classes I have gone with, the things I have done there in Ghana – we never intended to “save” anyone or anything in the few weeks we were there, as is often the narrative surrounding travel to developing countries. But what I found is that studying abroad opened my eyes to joys and treasures that I otherwise would not have known even existed. I am able to experience more of the world now because I have stepped out of my comfort zone, to learn, to connect, and to listen to other voices. It is a hard experience to quantify in a simple sentence, but it changed me fundamentally. My time abroad has made me a better person.”

“It’s rewarding to me to be able to plan these types of trips for TU,” says Chinsethagid. “There’s a faculty-led option for all the colleges and for every type of student. Long term, independent study abroad is an incredibly valuable experience, but it doesn’t always work for everyone. I’m especially thankful for the TU faculty and deans who spent the time and energy getting a course put together for our students. Each course is unique and affordable. And each course offers TU students an experience that will grow their educational and cultural proficiencies, better prepares them for the working world, and provides an experience they will never forget!”

Commitment forms for the following courses are due February 16:

Want to learn more? Visit the Faculty Led Programs page of our website or contact Candice Chinsethagid at candice@utulsa.edu.