UD students 'Dare to explore' through study abroad
3:10 p.m., Jan. 31, 2012--From exploring the Amazon jungle in Brazil, to helping students learn English in Laos, more than 1,000 University of Delaware students have been expanding their horizons over Winter Session through 50 faculty-led, study-abroad programs in 30 countries.
A number of these scholars have been sharing their academic adventures via social media through UD blogs and the University’s popular “Dare to Explore” feature on Facebook and Twitter. So far, more than 6,000 people have viewed each of the pictures submitted by the students.
Lead through service
“The students would not have had the opportunity for these live-changing experiences if it was not for the efforts of the faculty,” said Matthew Robinson, professor of business administration and director of the Institute for Global Studies. “The faculty do an incredible job of developing programs that are academically challenging and that enable students to experience various cultures.”
Each study abroad program requires students to take two courses for a total of 6–7 credits. Some programs couple academics or intensive language training with service learning projects.
Fourteen Honors Program students have been studying Italy’s contemporary political system while immersing themselves in the Italian culture. The program, which the students helped to plan, is led by James Magee, professor of political science and international relations, and highlighted in this blog.
The students volunteered with La Misericordia Di Firenze, an organization founded in 1244 that provides citizens in Florence who are ill or disabled with free transportation to and from the hospital. As the students accompanied patients in the ambulance and guided their wheelchairs in the hospital, they said they gained insight into both the charitable spirit of the people of Italy and the nation’s health care system.
In Vietnam and Laos, students in the LEAD program under the direction of Audrey Helfman, associate professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration, not only learned about the local culture, but they also conducted research for potential community improvement projects. Their work culminated in several proposals, including a sanitation/beautification project for the Old Quarter of Hanoi to improve business and tourism. Learn more in this blog.
Hundreds of elephants in Tanzania, sheep grazing around Stonehenge, and Dominica’s endangered Sisserou parrots living in that island nation’s Morne Diablotin National Park are just a few of the many unforgettable sights described by the students.
After spending the night at the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazonia (INPA) research station in the Amazon jungle in Manaus, Brazil, the participants in the Landscape Exploration of Brazil program, led by Profs. Susan Barton and Jules Bruck in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, went on a hike and saw a large hawk, several monkeys and a huge tree they estimated to be hundreds of years old.
“Without this study abroad program, none of us would have such a unique opportunity to explore the jungle,” said David Matera, from Newark, Del., in the program’s blog.
According to the Institute for International Education (IIE), the University of Delaware ranks fourth overall among the top public doctorate-granting institutions in the U.S. in the percentage of its students who study abroad, with 38 percent of UD students participating.