This summer, learning took on a global meaning for Georgia Southern University students during their Study Abroad trips. Students ventured outside a traditional classroom for diverse cultural experiences in such locales as Costa Rica, Germany, Spain, France, Italy and Southeast Asia.
During these trips, some students lived with host families while others stayed in small apartments. They participated in weekend excursions to neighboring regions and countries, were introduced to foreign cuisine through cooking classes, developed new friendships and made an impact through volunteerism.
Political science professor Dr. Krista Wiegand participated in a trip to Southeast Asia with 14 students from the University Honors Program, where they experienced the bustling cities of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as well as the culture in Bali, Indonesia. “We visited Chinese, Indian and Malay cultural sites, the world-famous Petronas Towers and spent a day with students at the University of Malaya. We also visited temples and ancient palaces, trekked through terraced rice paddies, biked down a mountainside from the top of a volcano and spent two days at elementary schools volunteering with Balinese children learning English,” she said.
Since 1999, students have traveled to Montepulciano, Italy, for a five-week Study Abroad program. The program is run by a consortium of schools within the University System of Georgia. In addition to Georgia Southern, students from participating universities including Kennesaw State and Georgia College and State University, traveled to the town located in the heart of Tuscany. Georgia Southern professors Dr. Timothy Teeter and Julia Fischer accompanied students on Term A, where their experiences ranged from tours of the Perugina Chocolate Factory to weekend excursions to Rome, Florence and Siena.
“Staying in a smaller town lets students really experience what it is like living in a small hilltop town in the Italian countryside,” said Danielle Smith, Study Abroad & Academic Coordinator. Smith noted that more than 40 students are participating in two sessions, and their studies are focused on liberal arts, social sciences and the humanities.
Georgia Southern professor Dr. Olga Amarie accompanied students on the Bordeaux, France Study Abroad program, which included excursions to chateaus in the Loire Valley and also experience Normandy on D-Day. “The classes helped students learn some of the formal language skills, but speaking with host families and meeting new people infinitely increased their speaking skills. In addition, students participated in cooking classes at the Atelier des Chefs, and all of the tours were given in French, which helped with the immersion process,” she added.
“This was an incredible experience. We have had plenty of opportunities to try new things that are not available in America. This trip was the opportunity of a lifetime with memories that will be cherished.” — Mary Beth Spence
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