Oswego's short study-abroad courses see enrollment surge

Japanese classAgainst a backdrop of increasing globalization, student enrollment in SUNY Oswego’s study-abroad quarter courses jumped nearly 50 percent this spring.

The number of students taking the courses, which feature seven weeks of classroom study and a week abroad, rose from 71 last year to 105 this spring, said Joshua McKeown, director of study-abroad programs for the college’s Office of International Education and Programs.

Research shows that travel, opportunities for adventure, and learning about other cultures are among the experiences most desired by students, McKeown explained.

“We’re hoping the combination of educational content on campus with international travel will have the ultimate student benefit,” McKeown said. “Our goal is to have study abroad be accessible wherever a student is in their time in Oswego.”

By the conclusion of this year’s courses, almost 300 students will have experienced the world through four years of these short programs—many of whom would not have an opportunity otherwise, McKeown said.

Matthew Frank, a junior broadcasting major from Webster, saw a quarter course visiting London as his first chance to see a country and the British Broadcasting Corp. that have long fascinated him.

“I hope to gain a wider perspective on the media world, especially in regards to television. I wouldn’t even mind meeting the right people to find a job over there,” said Frank, who will participate in Broadcasting 370: “Broadcasting in London.”

“I want to study abroad for a whole semester, but this one week will be perfect to see if I like Europe or not,” Frank added.

New offerings include Biology 301: “Tropical Marine Ecology in the U.S. Virgin Islands,” where students will sail on a catamaran between sites of biological interest, and Chemistry 401: “Fermentation and Distillation Science in Scotland,” offering scientific lessons on the chemical processes that produce of whiskey and beer.

More traditional “Global Cities” courses will provide intensive explorations of London, Paris, Dublin, Rome and Tokyo.

The trips abroad will take place either during spring break or just after the end of the spring semester.

In addition to meeting student interest, the program’s continuing growth owes its success to teamwork and a supportive campus culture, McKeown said.

“This is made possible by what I believe is the most talented and experienced staff in the SUNY system and responsive faculty who are willing to go the extra mile,” he said.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Learning sticks—Students in the quarter course “Global Cities: Tokyo” at SUNY Oswego are learning about Japanese culture and customs in preparation for visiting Tokyo from March 17 to 24. Yoshiku Fujita-Butler of the college’s modern languages and literatures department shows students Lucas Connor (left) and Kevin Kanalley how to properly use chopsticks. Student enrollment in study-abroad quarter courses at SUNY Oswego jumped nearly 50 percent this year.

(Posted: Mar 07, 2007)