Study abroad programs give students a chance to travel and hang out with their favorite instructors while earning college credit.
Dixie State University offers two different travel options for students: study abroad and faculty-led travel study.
Study abroad is an exchange program that currently collaborates with Bremen University in Germany, said Kathy Kinney, director of study abroad. In the fall of 2015, DSU will have an exchange program with Dalian University, in China. There are future plans for an exchange program in Meijo University, in Japan, but no exact dates have been set.
Global engagement, through a collaboration with University of Utah, connects student to exchange programs they are interested in that might not be available at DSU. DSU will work with any university to help students study abroad, Kinney said.
“The University of Utah is our main focus, unless they do not offer the program a student wants,” Kinney said. “What we don’t have, we can help you access. This is one of the ways we can help students have those opportunities available to them.”
Financial aid can be used, but it is best to plan ahead, Kinney said. She advised to always talk to the staff in the financial aid department first.
Faculty-led travel study usually takes place during a break in the semester or during the summer, Kinney said. The trips can range from one week to two months.
Classroom time is a part of the trips, which helps maintain academic integrity, Kinney said.
Kinney said she can give basic information on the faculty led trips, but she recommends contacting the faculty member who is in charge of the trip.
“Students are going to want to go on a trip with a faculty [member] they enjoy [because of] the way that faculty [member] presents information,” Kinney said. “They feel like they can get along with that faculty member on a trip.”
Nicole Weisbrich, a senior communication major from Inyokern, California, was one of the first students from DSU to go on the exchange program to Bremen, Germany.
For two years, Weisbrich worked two jobs to save up for her seven-month stay in Germany.
“I sold my car and just made sure I went over there without any monthly bills,” Weisbrich said. “You should have [a budget] figured out before you go over there.”
The cost of living is comparable to St. George, said Weisbrich.
“They try[ed] to make sure the exchange went to somewhere that is the same pricing and living costs as St. George,” Weisbrich said.
Class time was different than at DSU, Weisbrich said. She explained that classes are organized like a group project and the instructors are more like moderators in facilitating class discussions.
“One person would have been assigned that chapter, so they gave the presentation on it…then you all sit and discuss it as a group,” Weisbrich said.
During her stay, Weisbrich made lasting friendships with other students. She still keeps in touch with friends that she met in during her time in Germany who are from England, Italy and South Africa.
“We always made it a point to go out with each other [and] make sure we [were] all taken care of,” Weisbrich said. “We didn’t forget about anybody just because the class was over.”
Weisbrich’s experience inspired her to write The Study Abroad Pre-Departure Handbook, which can be found at http://dixie.edu/studyabroad/File/StudyabroadHandbook.pdf.
More information on upcoming trips and contact information for the faculty member who is in charge can be found at http://dixie.edu/studyabroad/.