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Short-term study abroad options abound

Jan. 17, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University is offering 26 short-term study abroad programs this summer, and most are open to non-WMU students as well as adults who aren't in college but are interested in traveling and learning.

The programs, offered through the University's Haenicke Institute for Global Education, are convenient options for students and others who want to immerse themselves in the language and culture of another country but can't spend a long period of time overseas.

They include taking a "grand tour" of Europe as well as studying art in France, business in Norway, engineering in China or Korea, creative writing in the Czech Republic, and language and culture in Russia. The deadline to apply for most of these programs is Friday, Feb. 15.

Summer 2008 study abroad programs run from two to eight weeks, provide varying levels of academic credit and are eligible for financial aid funding. Some programs offer classes in a broad range of disciplines or qualify for general education credit. A few offer scholarship opportunities.

Among the most popular recurring offerings is the month-long Grand Tour of Europe, led by Dr. Larry ten Harmsel, dean emeritus of the Lee Honors College. Last year, 25 people participated in two sessions of the program, which toured five countries and featured daily lectures on art, architecture and history.

For participant Brittany Husted, an April 2007 WMU graduate from Suttons Bay, Mich., the program was a good way to visit Europe for the first time and learn which cities she'd like to visit for a longer period in the future.

"The best part was we had such a good group," says Husted, who now works for a newspaper in Three Rivers, Mich. "I didn't know anyone when we left Michigan and now some of them are my best friends. I'm now more understanding of people I meet here who don't speak English and I'm more willing to help them."

WMU Senior Jacob Tardani of Muskegon, Mich., also found participating in a short-term program beneficial. Tardani studied in Egypt for a month at the Alexandria Center for Languages.

"Studying abroad in Egypt during the summer of 2006 was the perfect choice for me at the time. Since it was a short-term, one-month program, I was able to get away and see the life and culture of Egypt as it really is, not as learned from some textbook," Tardani says. "The weekend excursions to the pyramids, King Ramses' Tomb and all ends of the country really made it a once-in-a-lifetime experience and left me eager to discover more about the culture, history and language of Egypt."

Tardani was fortunate enough to do just that when he returned to that country in 2007 and spent the spring semester completing his Arabic language work.

"After acquiring a taste for the country, language and people, I felt even more confident that I could fully benefit from a semester-long program," he says. "I already knew what to expect and the situation didn't seem too foreign to me."

Students should consult with their academic advisors to learn how these offerings may be applied to their degrees. WMU faculty seeking help in developing study abroad programs should contact Brett Berquist, executive director of international programs in the Haenicke Institute, at brett.berquist@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3993.

For more information about WMU's summer study abroad programs, including how much individual programs cost and how to apply for them, go online to www.wmich.edu/studyabroad or contact the study abroad office at study-abroad@wmich.edu or (269) 387-5890. The office, which conducts informational sessions and walk-in advising on a daily basis, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and located on the second floor of Ellsworth Hall on WMU's main campus.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
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Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400