Poster Number 187
Monday, 6 October 2008
George R. Brown Convention Center, Exhibit Hall E
Study abroad opportunities enhance students’ educational experience through international awareness and intercultural understanding. This is increasingly important in our current global society. Traditionally “Study Abroad” meant that students spent a semester in a foreign country and attended classes at an accredited University. Although an excellent model, the costs can be prohibitive and not all students are able to spend four to six months away from home. The Embedded Study Tours programs are viable alternatives as they offer solid academic international experiences at a reasonable cost and with a reduced time commitment. Embedded programs include a short international excursion as a supplemental component of a course taught during the regular semester. This model enables students to participate affordably in more than one international experience, thus exposing them to different areas of the world.
Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences offers many diverse embedded programs. Three of these successful study tour options are presented here: Soils, Civilizations, and Societies, a 3-6 credit course with the option of a spring study tour to Jordan; US & European Comparative Agriculture, a weekly seminar course with various speakers culminating in a spring study tour to France; and Community, Environment and Development, a 2 credit course preparing students to look at the subject via student presentations and including a spring break excursion to Costa Rica. These international opportunities are “embedded” in an academic course, yet each course is delivered in a unique format. By focusing on short term programs and encouraging faculty to create models tailored to their course, the College has been able to raise the number of students having an international experience from 0.5 % in 1999 to 11% in 2007. This increase in student participation suggests that short-term embedded programs are successful and becoming an effective way to expose students to international experiences.