Winter study abroad options gain popularity

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Lehigh’s Winter Study Abroad program often serves as an option for students who are unable to study abroad for an entire semester or as an opportunity for students to gain even more experience studying in different locations around the world.

These programs, which take place over winter break, give students the option to take a class abroad for Lehigh credit without the restrictions some majors place on semester course load and without the limits summer put on internships possibilities.

“It’s a pretty popular option,” said Katie Radande, associate director of study abroad. “We have 92 students studying abroad this winter, which is about average.”

There are six study abroad programs offered to students this winter: Engineers Without Borders in Nicaragua, the Global Citizenship program, Lehigh in Munich, Lehigh in Costa Rica, Lehigh in Martinique, the CBE program in Singapore-Dubai and Lehigh in South Korea.

“The different programs meet different needs for different students,” Radande said. “I wouldn’t say one program is more popular than the other. It’s really just what courses students need or what and where they would like to travel to.”

Ryan Cooke, ’15, went on the Munich program last year. Cooke switched from engineering to business at the end of his sophomore year. He said that he chose a winter program as opposed to a full semester because his course work did not allow for him to take classes with most of the semester programs.

“(The program) allowed me the opportunity to study and take Lehigh courses abroad that I knew would count for credit without falling further behind on my course load so I could still graduate on time,” he said.

Rebecca Youssef, ’15, is also going abroad this winter on the Munich trip with Lehigh

“We’re going to go around Europe and sightseeing, but also learn about architecture,” she said.

Youssef also studied abroad with the Prague program during the summer after her sophomore year and said that she is excited for the opportunity to go abroad again with Lehigh before graduating. Youssef said it is a good opportunity to take another Lehigh class abroad outside of her marketing major.

Radande said that like semester and summer programs, students must still be in good academic and disciplinary standing in order to study abroad for the winter programs. She also emphasized that all courses taught abroad are Lehigh-led and taught by Lehigh professors.

“All winter programs listed on our website are actual Lehigh courses taught abroad,” Radande said. “Faculty members are really in charge of their programs and they review the application and pick the students for the classes.”

Radande said that the professors work with the students during the fall semester on some pre-departure assignments and then students will complete a post-program paper or similar ending project.

“The course work is a little longer than the actual time abroad to accommodate the course material so it will equal the actual course as taught in a semester at Lehigh,” she said.

The programs range in cost from $3,700 to $4,000. This includes the cost of three Lehigh credits, room and board and most meals. Radande said that in addition to the Lehigh-led programs, Engineers Without Borders is going Nicaragua to build bridges. The Global Citizenship program will also be going to Cambodia. The Global Citizenship program requires a 10-day trip the week before classes start for the sophomore spring semester of its participants.

Sammi Greene, ’16, attended the Global Citizenship trip last year. They went to India for eight days with two days of travel.

She said that the trip was, “full of interesting new social and academic experiences.” Greene said that similar to other Lehigh-led winter abroad programs, the Global Citizenship trip requires students to meet and take a class as part of their cohort during the fall 2013 semester. They studied India and its culture before departing and did several pre-departure papers and small projects.

“(The trip) allowed me to experience a culture I had not previously focused on or been overly interested in prior to the trip,” Greene said.

She said that she is now fascinated with India after the trip and was grateful for the experience. She urges other Lehigh students to take advantage of any and all study abroad options.

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