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December 17,


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Currents--University of Rochester newspaper

Study abroad offers a global perspective

by Bryan Rotach


Jacqueline Levine, assistant dean and director of the Center for Study Abroad and Interdepartmental Programs, has recently received the Professional Development Award from the Institute for the International Education of Students in recognition of her energy and enthusiasm, creative use of resources, and commitment to student services. Director of the center since 1991, Levine talks about the center, its role in the undergraduate experience, and plans for the future.

What does the Center for Study Abroad offer students?

We offer approximately 200 students each academic year the opportunity to study throughout the world. Our most popular programs include international relations and theater in London; study in Adelaide and Melbourne, Australia; and the Rochester program in Arezzo, Italy. We also have programs in nearly 70 other countries including some remarkable locations like St. Petersburg, Russia, and the summer archaeological excavation in Israel.

While programs vary, students may live either on a university campus, with a host family, or with others studying abroad. Much of their time is spent studying in a university setting, working at internships with political agencies or educational institutions, and traveling around the region. Students also consult with us for work abroad programs and for general travel advice.

How does study abroad enrich a student's educational experience?

A good study abroad experience challenges the way you do just about everything; it challenges the way you eat, sleep, work, walk, talk, respond, and observe. Once students travel to another country, their ideas are challenged; they approach problems in a different way. The study abroad experience is something that becomes completely embedded in their life, applicable to their lives for years to come.

How have students in the program responded to the events of September 11?

I have noticed that more students are watching the news and educating themselves on the affairs of world and America's influence.

Students also are more forthcoming with their concerns and reservations about traveling abroad, and it is evident to me that they have done more background work, identified their goals, and talked to their parents and professors about their choices.

As a result we have noticed new lines of communication opening; we are getting a new depth of questions from parents and students about their programs, and that is great. Parents appreciate the increased communication between students and our office.

What are the center's goals for the future?

We are working to increase the number of students studying abroad by making students aware of travel opportunities earlier in their academic programs. While several departments offer study abroad opportunities within a major, such as a semester in London for political science majors, it's important for students to know there are programs available to everyone.

Additionally, as students return to campus, we'd like to get their feedback and hear more about their travels. We encourage students to use their experiences to bring new perspectives to classrooms, to enrich discussions among their peers, and to inform others who may be considering the program.

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