Study Abroad Opportunities Expand to Give Students More Options

Study Abroad Opportunities Expand to Give Students More Options


In terms of diversity of and access to faculty-led study abroad programming, Southern is now “walking the walk,” says Erin Heidkamp, director of international education. With the recent addition of five new study abroad programs, destinations now range from Liverpool to Laos, and program fees are affordable compared to other institutional and third-party programs study abroad programs outside of Southern.

New programs this year include Amsterdam (sociology), China (nursing), Guatemala II (special education), Laos (English), and Liverpool (recreation and leisure). These programs join the university’s existing programs in Belize (biology), Bermuda (the environment, geography, and marine sciences), Guatemala I (public health), Iceland (the environment, geography, and marine sciences), Rome (English), Spain (world languages and literatures) and Tuscany (world languages and literatures).

Heidkamp says, “The publication of our new 2016 faculty-led program abroad booklets has sparked tremendous interest among faculty interested in establishing their own programs. We couldn’t be more excited about the growth in this area of OIE (Office of International Education) services. It’s the direct result of having defined the direction in which we, as a university, want to move.”

A key part of Southern’s mission as an institution of higher learning is “preparing our local students for global lives,” and each year, a significant number of Southern students study abroad. Last year, the university joined 240 institutions nationwide in the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad initiative to double the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade.


The Amsterdam program (July 7 – August 7) will address social problems in The Netherlands, especially as they relate to crime, drug culture, sexuality and social control. These and other topics will be covered in courses taught by experts on Dutch social policy and field experiences led by activists, policy makers, and scholars from the University of Amsterdam.


The 2016 China program (March 17 – 26) will provide nursing students a unique opportunity to study global healthcare abroad within a developing, culturally diverse population. Students will identify how cultural issues and global diversity impact the delivery of healthcare and will work collaboratively with Chinese nursing students from Central South University in Changsha, China, to explore, understand, and appreciate these differences as well as identify, assess, and plan interventions from a global perspective.


The special education field study in Guatemala (July 31 – August 14) will provide students with a unique opportunity to learn about special education in a developing country through interactions with children, teachers and families; discussions with in-country experts; community observations; and visits to schools, residential facilities and other agencies serving children with disabilities. Students will examine special education policies and services with attention to availability, accessibility, assessment, professional preparation, and resources. Topics such as cultural and linguistic diversity, literacy, school attendance and completion, and successful post-school transitions will be explored.


In the Laos program (May 30- June 16), students will take a course that introduces and teaches travel writing while offering intensive practice in multiple forms within the genre, making it suitable for seasoned as well as aspiring travelers and writers. Students will use their daily interactions with Lao culture, food, historical sites, and people to inform their written reflections on what it means to be a foreign person traveling through an unfamiliar country.


The Liverpool program – “Atlantic Crossing!” (April 3-12) — will provide students with the opportunity to meet like-minded students at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), and learn about the shared historical and cultural roots of two significant coastal cities that played a major role in the international economic and cultural development of the United States and England. The program may also serve as a practicum experience for a student in the Tourism, Hospitality and Event concentration, with student involvement in the planning and logistical management of the program. Students will be required to attend face-to-face meetings with RLS faculty, online meetings with LJMU counterparts prior to departure, and develop a research project linked to their current course work and concentration.

For more information about any of these programs, including fees and contact information, visit the OIE website.

To hear study abroad alumni speak about their experiences with international study, don’t miss the Global Ambassador Symposium on February 24 at 12 p.m. in Engleman A120.