Published on February 10, 2015 | by Cassandra Gagliardi Photography by Courtesy of Qaitlin Singh0
Expand your horizons by studying abroad
Imagine replacing a classroom’s tables, chairs and boards with foreign landscapes, institutions and real life experiences. The Study Abroad Program at the University of Guelph-Humber provides you with just this, as it is an opportunity that offers students a full course credit for experiencing education beyond the classroom and beyond the country.
This year, students have the opportunity to travel to either France, Greece, London and Berlin, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy or Denmark. The Study Abroad Program differs from a normal university exchange program, as it is led by a program head affiliated with the University of Guelph-Humber. The program entails 10 days of travel in one of the seven countries selected by each program head and takes place in May-June every year.
Although each trip may be geared toward a specific program, Farrah Lutchmansingh, Study Abroad Coordinator at the university, says, “that does not mean you need to be in that particular program to attend that course. Everything you need to know to pass the course is taught in that course. For example, we’ve had media students attend the justice trip.”
Having the Study Abroad Program led by affiliates of the University of Guelph-Humber allows for a more unique and personal approach to the studied field of choice. “The really cool thing about study abroad is, all of our program heads have led these double lives, they’ve all had these really great experiences within their field,” Lutchmansingh says. The professors take students to landmarks that relate to their studies, but there are unexpected perks as well. Lutchmansingh explains how, for example, when the head of Justice Studies took students to Italy, they went on a yacht in the middle of the Mediterranean and had a helicopter meet them out there. “You get to do things that you wouldn’t normally be able to do on your own,” Lutchmansingh says.
Studying abroad can also be advantageous as students can use the experience to make themselves stand out to future employers. “I don’t know if students know this, but this goes on your transcript as an ‘international field study’. You can tell people when you graduate that you studied your field in other countries. It sets you apart from your competition and actually gives you a little bit of an edge,” Lutchmansingh says.
Lutchmansingh has noticed an increase in the number of students interested in studying abroad. She believes that by word of mouth, it has spiked in popularity. From 62 students last year, Guelph-Humber is taking 109 students around the world this year. In order to accommodate as many people as they could, they had to offer one of the trips, twice.
Qaitlin Singh, a third-year Justice Studies student who travelled to Italy last year, explains that studying abroad with the University of Guelph-Humber has been one of the best decisions of her life. “It’s a phenomenal experience and it allows you to figure out who you are away from your parents and your friends,” she says.
Not only is the experience one for the books, Lutchmansingh says its one of the fastest and easiest ways to earn a credit. “There are about a handful of classes you need to attend before you go [on the trip], then you actually go on the trip. Generally, you are encouraged to keep a journal. When you come back, you write a paper. Your entire grade is based off that paper… and that is how you get your credit,” she says.
First-year student Orlagh McMahon says she is nervous but excited about attending her first study abroad trip to Italy this May. “I really hope to expand my horizons on the study abroad trip. I am a very shy person, so I am going to challenge myself to get to know and be involved with my team members,” she says.
For those students interested in Guelph-Humber’s Study Abroad program, Lutchmansingh says to look out for her in September. She often holds an information booth at the beginning of the year in the Guelph-Humber atrium. There are posters, banners, and videos promoting the program all around school. Lutchmansingh is also open to accepting emails about further inquiries and hopes to gain more interest in the program in the years to come.