Study Abroad expands to offer 'ultimate college experience'

By Andrea Pazik

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Study Abroad Program has a lot more than sights to offer students interested in going overseas.

The University of Arizona has a new program that began this semester in London at the University of Westminster. The city invites students from all disciplines to study art, science, business and engineering at Westminster. This university has eight libraries, a boathouse, sport facilities and is situated near major international sites.

"It gave me a new sense of independence by being away from family and a feeling of confidence that I could blend into a different country," said Debbie Cohen, media arts senior who studied in London last semester.

Students can also earn college credit while studying abroad. At the Universidad Federal do Ceara in Fortaleza, Brazil, students are expected to have one year of Portuguese and learn intensive Portuguese while visiting. In this tropical region, students get the opportunity to strengthen their language skills and earn four units of language that transfer to the UA.

"Studying and living in a foreign country is the ultimate college experience," said Jodi LaMell, a Spanish senior who studied in Madrid for 11 months. "You step out of the everyday American college world and into a completely new lifestyle."

The University of Guanajuato in Mexico offers a "fabulous opportunity in business, engineering, social science and Spanish," said Wayne Decker, the director of Study Abroad. "This program lets students study inexpensively in Mexico." The 250-year-old university has several research institutions, offers more than 30 professional degrees and has about 18,000 students.

There are more than 40 programs in connection with the UA installed in 16 countries including Denmark, Egypt and Israel. Students can study abroad for a summer, a semester or one year.

"It is very gratifying," Decker said about seeing students go abroad. He said students gain "assertiveness, ambition and personality from traveling."

Studying abroad is a "maturing experience" and "if people can't work internationally, they'll be left behind," Decker said.

Decker said these programs are structured to be affordable for students and grants are available for those who need aid.

"It has become vastly cheaper and students would be paying the equivalent of an Arizona in-state resident fee," he said.

Grant applications are due March 22 for students who want to travel this summer or fall.

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