From staff reports
The borders of an Ohio University education extend well beyond Athens, Ohio. Not convinced? A stroll past Lindley 185 might just change your mind.
As home to the Office of Education Abroad, the hallway leading up to Lindley 185 is lined with a colorful array of pamphlets and brochures advertising study abroad options from Australia to Wales and everywhere in between. This year, the Office of Education Abroad is adding to an already lengthy list of overseas options, offering Ohio University students ample opportunities to live abroad independently while fulfilling curricular requirements.
One thousand Ohio University students studied abroad in the 2006-07 academic year (the most recent year for which statistics are available), with the most popular destinations being France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Mexico, Ecuador and China. Director of Education Abroad Catherine Marshall said she anticipates the numbers will drop a bit in the 2008-09 school year, due in part to the fact that certain programs are not running.
And while Marshall admits that the economic downturn could sway some students from studying abroad, she views the current crisis as an extra incentive to get involved.
"All the news we hear about the economy is far from rosy, but with the job market getting even tighter, study abroad is an outstanding opportunity to set yourself apart," she said. "These are things students can do to make themselves more marketable as they go out in the job market."
As is the case with any economic downturn, affordability becomes a major factor in many students' decisions to study abroad. One obvious solution is to turn to more economical destinations. Case in point is one of this year's new summer offerings: Scriptwriting and Documentary Studies in Malaysia.
"It is without question one of the cheapest education abroad programs that we have this year, primarily because the cost of living and the exchange rate is so favorable," said Associate Professor Frederick Lewis in the School of Media Arts and Studies, who is heading up the program.
Scriptwriting and Documentary Studies in Malaysia runs June 29 through Aug. 7 at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur -- a thriving, diverse city where English is widely spoken. Students from all majors will be required to write a short narrative script adapted from Southeast Asian literature. Several Southeast Asian filmmakers also will visit these classes to screen and discuss their own projects.
The program includes weekend excursions to Singapore and the island of Borneo for the Rainforest World Music festival, which is an all-day and -night event featuring renowned musicians from every continent performing in the jungle atmosphere.
Despite the sour economy, Marshall said Italy continues to draw a large student contingent.
Among this year's new summer offerings is the Italian in Florence program -- a seven-week program offering a full year's worth of Italian language instruction at the introductory or second-year level. Associate Professor of Modern Languages Molly Morrison also leads student participants in a study of Dante Alighieri, from the heart of the renowned Florentine poet's stomping grounds.
A third new summer offering takes students to the heart of the feminist movement -- Paris, France -- to study feminist theory and postcolonial studies.
Under the guidance of Women's Studies Director Judith Grant, the one-month Women's and Gender Studies in Paris program ties local landmarks, architecture and art to the rise of democratic theories and feminist theories in the West. Students will benefit from reading several major English language texts of French feminism while immersing themselves in the setting that formed the basis for the origins and development of feminism.
These are just a sampling of the 25 programs that will be offered to Ohio University students this summer through the Office of Education Abroad. And according to Marshall, the time to get involved is now.
"Some deadlines are still pending, but even if the deadline has passed, there is no harm in contacting the director," she said. "Oftentimes, there is still some space."
Marshall encourages all students interested in studying abroad to visit www.ohio.edu/educationabroad/ or stop by Lindley 185 for walk-in advising, available from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Additional study abroad opportunities are available through the College of Business and the College of Osteopathic Medicine.