By: Emily Cohn
Traveling thousands of miles away from the comforts of your home can be a scary endeavor; daily living amongst locals speaking a foreign language and observing different customs can be overwhelming. However, to help you overcome any trepidation, just imagine traveling to places people only dream about and immersing yourself into foreign cultures.
I was fortunate to personally experience studying abroad during the spring 2012 semester of my junior year in the breathtaking, enchanting city of Prague, Czech Republic. I was enrolled at Anglo-American University where I earned 12 credits toward my IU degree and also had time to travel to ten countries (fifteen major European cities) where I gained insight and experiences reaching far beyond the scope of the classroom.
I highly recommend this experience to anyone whose schedule and finances allow such an opportunity. Should you have an interest in studying abroad, I recommend you begin your research at the start of the semester prior to your departure. Once you and your parents have agreed this is something worth pursuing, the next step is to meet with your academic advisor to see if it is a viable option that will still allow you to graduate as you intended. You and your advisor can determine what classes and how many credits you can take abroad. With this information, you will then schedule a meeting with an advisor in The Office of Overseas Study who will help guide you to programs that will allow you to fulfill your academic needs.
There are many options to choose from and this process will require you to find the program in a location you desire at a cost you can afford and also offers courses that fulfill your needs. When considering the cost factor, an important component other than tuition is the cost of living in the city you choose together with the cost to travel from that city. Lucky for me, as Prague has its own currency (the crown), the cost of living there was significantly less expensive than other European cities with the euro as its currency. The housing in Prague was beautiful and inexpensive and the food and entertainment costs were quite cheap – a typical dinner at a restaurant cost no more than $10 US dollars.
To help you in your decision process, I interviewed Rachelle Bennett, Program Specialist at The Office of Overseas Study, and asked her some of the general questions you may have about studying abroad.
Q: Other than the academic component, does participating in study abroad programs make a student more appealing to future employers or graduate school admission’s personnel?
A: In general, employers look upon the experience highly because of the personal growth, perspective, interpersonal skills and independence students typically gain through study abroad. One of the providers that we work closely with recently released research that shows college grads who studied with them were employed sooner and with higher salaries –
Q: Are there abroad programs that are viewed more positively or have better reputations? Are there some that should be avoided?
A: Study abroad programs can really differ depending on what a student is looking for in a program. IU partners with and recommends programs based on the reputation of the organizing agencies or institutions, the perceived quality of the programs and their high academic standards which are all in concert with IU’s academic standards.
Q: Specifically for SPH students, what does study abroad offer?
A: There are a number of study abroad opportunities for students in the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington (formerly HPER, School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation). SPH-B students can also earn credit through School of Public Health-Bloomington departmental programs designed for SPH majors such as Melbourne, Australia. Students can study Community Health in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sports Marketing & Management in Copenhagen, Denmark and Dance in Jerusalem, Israel just to name a few.
Q: Instead of enrolling in an academic institution, have students completed internships abroad? What are some examples?
A: Internship programs are available as well. IU programs with independent work experience include Barcelona, Spain; Santiago, Chile and Gaborone, Botswana. There are also some non-IU programs with internship components that we can recommend.
I highly encourage any student to explore the possibility of studying abroad. Talk to your friends who have done so and meet with your academic advisor to answer your questions and address your concerns. Visit the Overseas Office at Leo R. Dowling International Center, 111 S. Jordan Ave, where the staff can provide you most of the information you need. Spending a semester abroad in Prague was a time I will always cherish, and I hope that all of you can also share my experience!
Emily Cohn is an undergraduate intern with Indiana University School of Public Health Career Services. She is a senior studying Sport Marketing and Management, minoring in Business and Marketing. Emily has spent the past two summers interning for The Miami Heat and hopes to pursue a career in sports once she graduates in May 2013.
IUSPH Career Services
Job opportunities for Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington majors are diverse and expanding as the emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle grows around the world. Career Services experts in each of our academic departments will provide one-on-one counseling and career building opportunities throughout your academic career, from choosing the right major to developing a strategy to find a job. They can assist you with:
•resume and cover letter preparation
•graduate school preparation