Whether it’s spring break in South Africa or a summertime trip to visit the financial capitals of Europe, St. Cloud State University has several short-term study abroad opportunities that offer a taste of a study abroad experience without three months away from home is not an option.
Education Abroad’s faculty-led study abroad programs have been approved for winter break, spring break and summer session 2016. Instruction for all the programs is provided in English.
Programs are open to all students and are designed around academic themes including business, higher education, geography and planning, community development, psychology, biology, art, communication studies, English and ethnic studies and culture.
With 16 programs on five continents, students can find a program that fits their academic and travel interests in a program that goes more in-depth than a sight-seeing trip, said Nichole Pazdernik, director of international recruitment, admissions and Education Abroad at St. Cloud State.
Faculty leads for the short term programs enjoy the opportunity to give students a new global perspective. Many of them hold meetings prior to the trip to help students prepare for the experience.
Five of the 16 programs are led by faculty in the Department of Geography and Planning, three are led by Professor Masha Mikolchak from the department of language and culture.
- Costa Rica, Winter Break 2015-16, led by Mikhail Blinnikov: The program is open to all students.
- Southeast Asia, Winter Break 2016, led by Shoua Yang and Robert Johnson: Open to all students.
- South Africa, Spring Break 2016, led by Robert Johnson: Open to all students.
- French Carribean, Spring Break 2016, led by Masha Mikolchak: Open to all students.
- Russia, Summer 2016, led by Mikhail Blinnikov: Open to all students.
- Italy, Summer 2016, led by Christine Imbra: Open to master’s and doctoral students in Higher Education Administration.
- London, Paris, Amsterdam, summer 2016, led by Paula Weber: Open to all business majors and minors.
- Alnwick, Summer 2016, led by Justin Quinn and Jennifer Tuder: Open to all students including First Year Experience.
- Wales, Summer 2016, led by Gareth John: Open to all students.
- London, Summer 2016, led by Masha Mikolchak: Open to all students.
- France, Germany, Switzerland, Summer 2016, led by Masha Mikolchak: Open to all students.
- Ghana, Summer 2016, led by Chuks Ugochukwu: Open to all students, minimum sophomore standing.
- Italy and Greece (geography and planning), Summer 2016, led by Aspa Rigopoulou-Melcher: Open to all students.
- Italy and Greece (psychology), Summer 2016, led by Joseph Melcher: Open to all students.
- Australia, Summer 2016, led by Mark Schmidt and Whitney Johnson, Open to all students. Targeted to business students.
- Croatia, Summer 2016, led by Marina Cetvovic-Cvrye: Open to all students, minimum sophomore standing.
The Australia program and a trip that encompasses London, Paris and Amsterdam in summer 2016 are led by business faculty to give students a look at how business and finance is conducted in other parts of the world.
Mikhail Blinnikov, professor of geography, led a trip to Costa Rica in January and has led trips to his native Russia four times. He enjoys taking students to these places he loves, and he works to ensure they know how to be respectful while visiting another country.
“Many of our students travel abroad for the first time and do not realize the complex social and cultural norms that must be followed to have a smooth experience,” said Blinnikov, adding that he advises his students to show respect to other cultures by speaking softly outside on the street, dressing appropriately for the culture and to keep from sitting on the floor.
But once the students get in-tune with their new surroundings, it’s a great experience, he said, adding that student safety and comfort is always his top priority.
“College is the best time to travel abroad because once you graduate you won’t have much time,” Blinnikov said. “… So consider doing it now, it may help you find your future job, and, in any case, you will make memories and friends for life.”
Associate Professor Chuks Ugochukwu teaches in the planning and community development. He’s leading students to Ghana this summer, where he’s led students in the past.
Professors Justin Quinn, art, and Jennifer Tuder, theater, are teaming up to lead summer program at Alnwick, a castle in northern England where students live and study. This program is open to First Year Experience students.
Also teaming up are Professor Joseph Melcher and Professor Aspa Rigopoulou-Melcher, who will lead separate programs to Italy and Greece together during summer session 2016. Melcher, who teaches psychology, and Rigopoulou-Melcher, who teaches in geography and planning, and their students will travel together while visiting cities and islands in Italy and Greece, and then break out with their students as they learn their respective subjects.
Professor Paula Weber, who teaches international business, has led programs to Germany and Spain. In addition to leading the short-term program to the financial centers of London, Paris and Amsterdam in summer, she is leading a semester-long program to Spain in fall 2016.
She believes studying abroad brings the subject to a different level for the students involved.
Christine Imbra, professor in the graduate and doctoral Higher Education Administration programs, has led a program to visit Italian universities several times.
Studying abroad challenges students on a personal level as well as educationally. When students study in another country, they become more culturally aware and sensitive to international students studying on campus, she said.
In addition to these short-term programs, St. Cloud State faculty are leading longer programs to Alnwick and South Africa. In all, St. Cloud State offers 35 study abroad programs — both semester-long and short-term. In addition, students wishing to study in other countries may select from programs offered by the university’s preferred providers located across the world.
“We are committed to helping students find excellent programs that meet their academic and personal needs,” said Peggy Johnson-Finnerty, Education Abroad associate director. “We encourage students to view our website and come talk with us in Lawrence Hall about where they would like to study and how they can make it happen.”