Friday, May 25, 2018

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Quarters to semesters transition opens more doors to international opportunities

Many new doors to the world will open to Ohio University students with the switch to semesters. Not only will the University's academic calendar align favorably with more study abroad opportunities, the extra five weeks will allow students to get more "bang for their buck," according to the Director of the Office of Education Abroad Catherine Marshall.

Betsy Partyka, chair of Modern Languages, agreed.

"The extra four weeks will make the programs even more beneficial to each student not only for language acquisition, but to establish long-lasting friendships and to immerse themselves in the culture," Partyka said. "Under semesters, students will have a chance to absorb more information as well as to slow down and become a true part of their new community."

Semester-based study abroad programs typically cost more than quarter-long programs, according to Associate Director of the Office of Education Abroad Lori Lammert. For OHIO students, the price increase will reflect the cost differential between one quarter on campus and one semester on campus, she added.  

To help with funding, students can access their Ohio University financial aid packages during the academic year – although these are not typically available during breaks, according to Lammert. Students can also apply for additional scholarships, which can be applied to any term.

According to Marshall, the cost increase is offset by more depth of experience and a bigger selection of study abroad opportunities available in the semester system.

Students who are concerned about graduating on time can find study abroad options that fulfill general or major requirements. They can also choose to study abroad in the summer, winter or spring breaks, which can put students ahead with academic requirements. Currently, there are more than 35 study abroad options through the Office of Education Abroad during breaks, as well as many more through affiliate and partner abroad programs.

Planning ahead for education abroad is key to matching international experiences with students’ academic career paths, according to Lammert.

“Students should start planning early for their education abroad experience and talk to their academic advisors now to discuss the best term to study abroad,” Lammert said.

How to find the right education abroad program

Want to travel abroad but not sure where to start? Here are some simple steps:

1. Visit the Education Abroad website.

Through the planning your experience page, students can search for programs by destination, major and term and learn about funding opportunities.

2. Stop by the Walter International Education Center and talk to a peer adviser.

Peer advisers are available from 1-4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays in the Walter International Education Center (next to Baker) during the academic year. They have studied abroad themselves and are knowledgeable about OHIO's study abroad programs. Study abroad events are also offered throughout the year. Follow Education Abroad's Facebook page and Twitter handle for event updates. During the summer, professional advisors are available by appointment.

3. Talk to your academic advisor.

Careful planning will be important during the transition to semesters. Discuss study abroad with your academic advisor and incorporate it into your transition degree planning.