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Bite-Sized Study Abroad Experiences

Written by Lauren Hesse
3/21/2011

Students visiting Venice, Italy

Want to immerse yourself in a foreign country but don’t want to spend an entire semester away? Ithaca College offers many valuable short-term study abroad experiences that take place outside of the academic calendar. Some connect international fieldwork to classroom research. Others focus on foreign internships or are service-learning projects led by committed faculty members. More than 500 IC students took advantage of short-term study abroad options last year. New programs pop up all the time, but here are a few that have become annual favorites. 

Culture, Health, Healing, and Sport in China

Students in professor Hongwei Guan’s course spend two weeks in China exploring both the philosophy and practice of health, prevention, rehabilitation, sport, and physical education from a Chinese perspective. “I believe the program helps prepare our students to be more culturally competitive and become leading global citizens,” says Guan. They learn hands-on skills such as tai chi, Chinese massage, and acupuncture, and also attend cultural events and visit historical sites. For some, the trip is life-changing. “Many of the students who travel with me express their interest in pursuing professional opportunities in China,” says Guan. One IC grad who participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympics program has received a scholarship and is now studying in China.

 

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London Summer Session

The College’s London Center offers a six-week, six-credit summer experience that allows students to choose one of two options: a professional internship and accompanying seminar, or two courses on British studies (subjects change yearly). Rachel Bondra ’11 loved the freedom of her time in London. “The summer program gave me a great opportunity to discover London on multiple levels. I interned at a small community-oriented museum and was able to explore the intricacies of an international city.” Aside from courses or an internship, students enjoy museum visits, trips across the U.K., and tours of outdoor markets.

Language and Culture in Siena, Italy

This course focuses on conversational Italian and the country’s culture and history. “I ate some of the best food in the world, saw amazing locales, picked up the language, and made some great friends,” says integrated marketing communications major Sam Dehority ’11. “Our professors had either lived in Italy or studied there extensively, so we were able to get the inside scoop on many local traditions”—like the Sienese Palio, the bareback horse races around the Piazza del Campo every July and August. Over the course of the three-week program, students also explore Florence, Rome, and Venice. “I urge any student to jump at this opportunity, no matter your level of Italian,” says Dehority. “It allows you to study abroad but not give up a whole semester at Ithaca.”

 

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Healthcare and Culture: An International Field Experience in Malawi

In this two-week, one-credit course, nurses from the campus health center, students, and professors head to Africa to examine poverty, beliefs, services, and behaviors within the international healthcare system. “I wanted to travel to a country that I could only understand with firsthand experience, and I knew that I wanted to help people,” says speech-language pathology major Caitlin Sears ’11. “This seemed like the perfect opportunity.”

The IC contingent works with the Ministry of Hope, which runs crisis-care nurseries and feeding centers for children orphaned by the AIDS epidemic. The team brings over thousands of dollars’ worth of medicines to donate to the cause. Sears was especially moved by a visit to the widows village. “In Malawian culture, if a husband dies,” explains Sears, “it is believed that all of his possessions belong to his parents and siblings, not to his wife or children, leaving the widow with absolutely nothing to care for her children.” Sears was grateful for the chance to care for these women and help them move toward a new start in their lives. 



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