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Exchange program expands abroad offers

The International Affairs office increased opportunities to study abroad. As a result of an initiative by Hai-Lung Dai, senior vice provost of international affairs, during the last two years, Temple’s study abroad exchange programs have expanded. In addition to original programs in Puerto Rico, Germany and England, the Office of International Affairs has now partnered… Read more »

The International Affairs office increased opportunities to study abroad.

As a result of an initiative by Hai-Lung Dai, senior vice provost of international affairs, during the last two years, Temple’s study abroad exchange programs have expanded.

In addition to original programs in Puerto Rico, Germany and England, the Office of International Affairs has now partnered with universities in Sweden, China, Taiwan and Korea.

“One of the things [Dai] has done with President [Ann Weaver] Hart’s support is created agreements, partnerships and collaborations with other universities and student exchange is an outgrowth of that,” Denise Connerty, assistant vice president of international affairs, said.

In addition to new exchange programs with partner universities, Temple became part of the Trans-Atlantic Science Student Exchange Program last year, a program designed for students studying the sciences. Temple currently has its first two students abroad through TASSEP.

“One of the things that’s great about these new countries and destinations is the new model of study abroad and new discipline,” Connerty said. “We now have options for science and engineering students.”

Cheryl Marcelo was part of an exchange in South Korea at Yonsei University in Fall 2011. As an English major and Asian studies minor, Marcelo was able to take courses not offered at any of Temple’s campuses.

“There were more Korean-culture specific Asian studies courses that Temple doesn’t offer,” Marcelo said. “I think Temple focuses more on China and Japan in terms of their Asian studies courses, so I was really glad to take Korean courses at Yonsei University.”

Part of the appeal of exchange programs is the focus on immersing students into their host country’s culture. Students involved with exchange programs study and live at foreign universities alongside students from that country, taking their exchange university’s equivalent of a full-time schedule.

“I lived in an international dorm where I was with other students studying at Yonsei at the time,” Marcelo said. “We connected with each other on the level that we’re all college students, we’re all interested in South Korea and that was it. I still talk to the friends that I made there. It was definitely an eye-opening experience.”

Another benefit of these new exchange programs is their English language inclusion.

In an effort to further student mobility, many universities offer courses in English for their own students and for students who are on exchange, Connerty said.

“The Asian universities are eager to internationalize,” she said. “They’re eager to have American students and students from around the world.”

Anat Schwartz, a junior Asian studies major and anthropology minor, lived in South Korea and studied at Ewha Women’s University in the fall.

“I did a lot of things that there’s no way I would have accomplished in a place like Japan…I really learned the language pretty quickly and just [attending] the school itself, not having many American students, having to go out of my comfort zone,” Schwartz said. “I really did immerse myself in a local culture, so what I went for is really what I got out of it.”

Due to the nature of exchange programs, this extended globalization comes at no cost to Temple or the host university. This differs from traditional study away programs, which can involve many expenses to the university.

Unlike joining an outside program with another American university, these exchange programs also come at no additional cost to students.

“The students at the host university are paying whatever they’re used to paying and Temple students are paying their tuition,” Connerty said. “Then the students switch places so students at either end don’t have to do anything but pay what they’re used to paying.”

There are also additional scholarships for study away and exchange program participants, like the Diamond Ambassador and Gilman scholarships, both which Schwartz received.

“[Temple is] a big university with students with varying academic and geographic interests,” Connerty said. “It’s nice to be able to meet more and more of those needs and get our students the heck out of the country.”

Becky Kerner can be reached at beckykerner@temple.edu.

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