Lehigh students sit in front of the John Lennon Wall during the summer of 2016 in Prague. The students went as part of the Lehigh in Prague program. (Courtesy of Alex Lupinski)

Lehigh in Prague provides alternative to semester study abroad

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For many students who can’t go abroad for a whole semester, Lehigh’s short-term programs give students an abroad experience that can fit into their schedule.

Jodeen Gemmel, a study abroad adviser for many of the short-term programs, said students can get the feel of going abroad and immerse themselves into the culture through a short-term program even though it’s a shorter time frame and different from a semester-long program.

Gemmel said some students might feel they cannot fit an entire semester abroad into their schedules, so they opt for a summer program. Others feel like they’ll miss out on something happening on campus if they go abroad for a semester.

“In my opinion, you’re here for eight semesters, just spend one in a totally different atmosphere,” Gemmel said. “Lehigh will still be here.”

The Lehigh in Prague program is one of the summer opportunities offered to students. It is the biggest summer program in regard to faculty programs Lehigh has to offer, Gemmel said.

Lehigh students and professors stand for a photo during the summer of 2016 in Prague. The members of the accounting class were celebrating the end of the Lehigh in Prague program with dinner.
(Courtesy of Alex Lupinski)

Accounting majors Kirstin Godau, ’18, and Alex Lupinski, ’18, saw the Lehigh in Prague program as the perfect opportunity to experience another country easily, while still being able to get work experience and take classes for Lehigh credit.

As an athlete, going abroad for an entire semester was never an option for Godau. Going to Prague over the summer, however, alleviated stress because it allowed her to still complete her accounting degree in time for graduation. She was able to obtain more credits through an internship opportunity and a class.

“My favorite part was having time to travel around Europe,” Godau said. “The long weekends gave us the perfect amount of time to see other cities close by.”

Working as an intern and traveling Europe were both first-time experiences for Godau.

Lupinski said going to Prague was something she never would have expected herself to do. The Prague summer program gave her the opportunity to not only gain more credits toward her major but allowed her to travel to areas she never thought she would have.

“My favorite part was living my day-to-day somewhere completely different,” Lupinski said. “It was interesting to do my everyday tasks in a different country like riding the subway and the tram.”

Although it was their first time abroad, the program wasn’t daunting for either Godau or Lupinski.

“It didn’t really hit me,” Lupinski said. “I left a week after classes ended and didn’t have time to think about it.”

This year, the program had the most applicants it had ever seen. Ninety-five students applied and 77 were accepted. Gemmel said although all students are encouraged to apply to the program, there might not be a fit for an internship for everyone.

As far as financial assistance, students on financial aid can get a travel grant for summer abroad programs. In addition to financial aid, there are scholarships available, like the Tauck Scholarship that gives business students the combination of educational and cultural opportunities through these abroad programs.

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