May 17, 2010
Elizabeth Klipp, 404-413-1356
This summer, Georgia State University students are traveling around the globe from Argentina to New Zealand, studying topics from human rights to virology.
In fact, more than 430 Georgia State students are going on 28 study abroad trips during the May term and summer semester, 13 of which were newly developed by GSU faculty this year.
On these once-in-a-lifetime trips, which last two to six weeks, GSU students will explore different issues affecting each country and the international community at large such as, "International Business in an Emerging Economy: The People's Republic of China," "Egypt in the Age of Pharaohs" and "Psychological Causes and Consequences of Terrorism in Northern Ireland."
Rather than spending their summer poolside, GSU students are adding a global dimension to their university education.
"Study abroad opens the door to the world for our students," said Farrah Bernardino, director of Georgia State's Study Abroad Programs. "It connects them to cultures they've never experienced before, gives them a new perspective on their own country and allows real world application of their studies. Furthermore, employers are looking for graduates that have studied abroad."
Summer study abroad programs are led and taught by Georgia State faculty members and tend to range from 10 to 15 participants, though some trips are larger. Students participate in lectures, site visits, excursions and tours as part of their specific program.
For example, Teryl Frey, associate chair of the biology at Georgia State, is leading a group of 23 GSU undergraduates on a trip, "Medical Virology in Argentina."
At the National University of Cordoba, Frey's students will learn about viruses of public health concern in Argentina, such as rubella, H1N1 and mosquito-borne viruses, and learn diagnostic tests on specimens using a wet lab.
But Frey's trip isn't all about lectures and time in the lab. Students also take day trips to historic sites and nature preserves around Argentina, and spend a day in Buenos Aires, where they see the Argentinian equivalent of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
"They get to study the public health side of microbiology particularly viewed from another country," Frey said. "But they also have fun exploring a new country and culture different from their own."
Frey's trip is so popular that Alexandra Teje, who went last year, is going again this summer - this time as a teaching assistant.
"I had a blast last year," said Teje, who graduated May 15 with a bachelor's degree in biology. "I got immersion into the culture, got to work with Argentinian biology students and faculty, and got to study viruses that aren't around here. I want to go back to learn more about their public health issues and see more of the country."
While some trips are long standing favorites, others are new this year.
For instance, Kelly Lewis, assistant professor of psychology, is leading a first-time trip called, "The Psychology of Skin Bleaching in Tanzania," which involves experiential learning and lectures focused on Tanzania's transition from slavery to colonization to skin bleaching.
GSU students will spend four weeks in Tanzania visiting historical sites, such as museums and colonial buildings, and contemporary sites that sell skin bleaching creams and treat skin bleaching conditions.
"Students will be learning about the public health issue through a historical lens," Lewis said. "I would love for students to have a deeper understanding of the East African slave trade and the ability to make connections to the historic and current day practices in East Africa."
In addition to lectures and discussions, Lewis' students will go on safaris, visit some of the most pristine beaches in the world and enjoy local restaurants and entertainment venues.
Students rave about their experiences studying abroad, saying it's a great way to learn about a new culture, broaden one's perspectives and meet new friends all while earning credits and grades.
The University System of Georgia and for-profit companies offers other study abroad choices for students, but nearly 90 percent of Georgia State students choose to go on GSU-sponsored trips, Bernardino said. In total, almost 600 GSU students traveled abroad during the 2009-2010 academic year.
"Study abroad is no longer a 'luxury' experience for privileged college students," she said. "Students are now expected to have a global dimension in their undergraduate education, and study abroad is the most effective way to broaden their perspectives on the world."
For more information, visit: http://www.gsu.edu/studyabroad/index.html