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ASU Study Abroad Office offers new programs

February 15, 2013

With the addition of 11, brand new faculty-directed summer study abroad programs, the ASU Study Abroad Office (SAO) is continuing to expand international opportunities for ASU students.

The new programs have been developed for New Zealand, Malawi, Korea, Spain, Morocco, London, Washington D.C., United Arab Emirates, France, Italy, China and Australia. The office also added new exchange programs in Turkey, China and Germany. 

ASU students now have the option of 310 different study abroad programs in more than 60 countries – ranging from as little as one week to as long as a full year, taking place during the summer, fall, spring, academic and calendar year.

With such a wide range of program options, students from any major can earn ASU credit while studying abroad.  Students who have studied abroad also significantly stand out to employers in any job field.

There are several funding options for studying abroad, such as financial aid, community-based funding, scholarships, and grants, including the SAO Travel Grant. Last summer/fall, ASU students received $195,600 in scholarships and grants. Students can learn more about funding options through SAO’s bi-weekly Financing your Study Abroad workshop.

The deadline to apply for summer 2013, fall 2013, and academic year 2013 programs is March 1. To find out more information, visit the Study Abroad Office website at, attend a Study Abroad 101 Info Session in Tempe Center room 150 every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., or view the Study Abroad 101 online here.

Students can choose from three different types of study abroad programs: Faculty Directed Programs, Exchange Programs, or Partnership Programs.

Faculty-directed programs are led by ASU faculty members, and participants are a small group of students. The programs are typically three to nine weeks in the summer with housing and excursions arranged for the group.  Students develop strong relationships with the faculty member and a close-knit group of fellow students.

One unique faculty directed program, Energy, Sustainability and Development Across the Mediterranean, allows students the opportunity to study abroad on two different continents in three weeks. Students travel to Spain and Morocco to focus on current sustainability, energy and development issues spanning the two continents. One highlighted project is the Desertec program in Morocco, an initiative that aims to provide the North African desert with solar power generation and pipe electricity under the Mediterranean to supply Europeans with renewable energy.

Jannan Poppen, the international coordinator for the program, noted that “by meeting the people behind the project and those it will affect, participants will gain an understanding of the social and environmental impacts of Desertec and other development projects in the region. The interdisciplinary program will offer an opportunity for students to analyze issues in a comparative context and experience the diverse Mediterranean region.”

Exchange programs are a more autonomous style of study abroad program. Students enroll directly at a foreign university for a semester or year abroad and take classes with local students. This means some programs require proficiency in a local language; however, there are many options to take courses in English as well. Students have the freedom to choose their own housing – residence hall, apartment, homestay (living with a local family), etc. – and have the independence to travel throughout the country or nearby countries whenever they are not in class.

Nanyang Technological University in Singapore offers an exchange program for students studying business, engineering, fine arts, foreign languages, humanities, life sciences, physical sciences or social sciences, and is consistently ranked as one of the best schools in Asia.

Sean Hanson, an ASU student majoring in computer science who recently studied abroad at Nanyang Technological University, regularly encourages other students to study abroad. He explained that “if they (the student) like longboarding, maybe I would propose how they’d feel about longboarding down the Andes or the Alps. If they like to read, I would propose that they visit the homes of their favorite authors. A study abroad experience is anything they make of it and if they dream of doing something, a study abroad experience is an excellent opportunity to realize that dream. A study abroad experience is also an opportunity to distinguish oneself from the competition in a given field.”

Partnership programs are offered by non-university organizations and universities that have an official agreement with ASU. Partnerships are similar to exchange programs; however students are usually supported by in-country staff from the partnership organization throughout their time overseas. Internships are also possible through partnership programs.

One partnership program that offers a variety of opportunities to students with at least two semesters of college-level French is the CIEE Language and Culture Program at Suffolk University  in Dakar, Senegal. Through this semester or yearlong program, students experience complete cultural immersion through a homestay and have the opportunity to complete internships, enroll in classes, befriend a French-speaking conversation partner, participate in cultural activities, and learn through a weeklong visit to rural areas.

Explaining the exceptional opportunities that exchange and partnership programs offer to students, Katie Curiel, international coordinator, said, “ASU students can pursue their academic, paraprofessional, and personal goals in a variety of exchange and partnership programs throughout the world. These programs present amazing opportunities for not only in-depth exploration of the world and the host culture(s), but also in-depth exploration of one’s self. Study abroad participants’ lives are transformed through their experiences abroad and the various people they meet from around the world, both in and out of the classroom. Study abroad should be on every ASU student’s ‘bucket list’!”