Photo courtesy of Jenny Callahan.
Picture waking up every morning in a different country, taking in the beautiful foreign sights, and absorbing the culture all before heading to your classes. Now picture having the ability to spend anywhere from a week to an entire semester in a country of your choice.
As a college student, this may sound like wishful thinking, but with the study abroad program at Dixie State University, students’ dreams to travel abroad may be closer to reality than they think.
What is the Study Abroad Program at DSU?
The Study Abroad Program, led by program coordinator Jenny Callahan, is a program open to all DSU students interested in earning transferable credits for courses taken in a different country. There are currently three types of programs available:
- Summer programs
- Affiliate programs
- Exchange Programs
Summer programs range between one to six weeks, and these faculty-led trips are the most structured in terms of activities and sightseeing, Callahan said.
Affiliate programs are run through a third party associated with DSU. These programs offer students the ability to travel to countries that DSU doesn’t offer, Callahan said. These trips can range anywhere from a week to an entire semester.
Exchange programs can last a student a semester or an entire year. This program allows you to swap places with another student from a participating country. These trips are much more independent, leaving the student to explore and experience the country to their own desire. Callahan said DSU has long-standing relationships with the countries involved in the exchange program, and for this reason the program looks for students who are able to act as an ambassador between the institutions involved.
“It’s unique,” Callahan said. “You’re registered for classes at [DSU], but you attend classes at this partner university.”
Where can we study abroad?
According to the DSU Study Abroad website, the two countries offered through the summer and exchange programs are Japan and Peru. However, if you choose to travel through the affiliate programs, you’ll have your pick of 24 countries, ranging from Cuba to Australia.
Why should I study abroad?
In one word: experience.
“It doesn’t matter if you never plan on leaving St. George, Utah, the U.S., anywhere,” Callahan said. “You’re going to be dealing with people from around the world no matter what job you do.”
Luis Arevalo, director of global education, said the current job market is extremely competitive, and getting that experience with other cultures can help get you ahead.
“Even picking up part of a different language… those are invaluable talents now,” Arevalo said.
Callahan went on to say that studying abroad elevates your cultural competency.
“It allows you to see that there’s different ways of thinking and it helps [students] see that there are some really beautiful and wonderful locations out there in the world,” Callahan said.
Callahan also said it helps students see how similar we all are around the world and how we all enjoy similar things.
“From my experience, the student grows and develops on these trips,” said Peter Gitau, vice president of student affairs.
How much does it cost?
It depends on the program you choose.
The faculty led programs range from $1,200-$5,000, depending on the length of the trip. The semester-long exchange program, described as a “hidden gem” by Callahan, has a fee ranging from $300 to $850 plus tuition and airfare. Scholarships and other financial aid opportunities are available and transferable to students. The affiliate programs, as they’re run through a third party, range in a variety of prices.
Since the courses taken are credits through DSU, supplemental funding can be available as well, Gitau said.
“Many students don’t do study abroad because they’re worried about affording it,” Gitau said. “Much of this money that’s available goes unused because students are afraid to ask for it.”
What makes DSU unique?
The cost, the locations and the cultural immersion. A program is available through DSU that allows students to spend two days in a village with a native family.
“You do what they do, you eat what they eat, it’s complete immersion,” Gitau said.
Beyond that, there’s also several service projects available through that program. Normally taking place in an a local elementary school, these can range from teaching English at a school in the community, to renovating a classroom.
Arevalo said that DSU’s program is unique in the sense that every aspect of it is pegged in learning objectives.
“It’s not just ‘outings abroad,'” Arevalo said. “That doesn’t happen everywhere.”
How can I apply?
Applications for summer 2019 and the 2019-20 school year are open now and available at https://studyabroad.dixie.edu/sign_up/ . There is a $35 application fee.
For more information regarding the Study Abroad Program at Dixie, contact Callahan at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 435-879-4714.