Last summer, Jake Leonard completed an internship with Hart Media in London, England, through Klein Go, Klein College of Media and Communications’ personalized study abroad program, which offers academic and internship opportunities nationally and internationally while checking off major credit requirements.
Studying abroad in London was a great experience, as he was able to advance his education and do work he’s interested in while traveling away from Main Campus, said Leonard, a junior journalism major.
“It was a nice mix of working and getting experience as well as having fun,” Leonard said. “I was able to network and make connections, so that was great. Then on Fridays, I got to see the city with someone who was actually from London.”
Both Klein and Fox School of Business offer personalized programs for students to earn credits and complete internships relevant to their field of study, while away from Main Campus. Students who are not enrolled in Fox or Klein often rely on the university’s general study abroad program, rather than one geared towards their studies.
Temple should implement personalized study abroad and internship programs, like Klein Go and Fox Global, for all schools, so students can take advantage of the opportunity without sacrificing major requirements while gaining class credit and experience within their fields.
The university’s general study abroad programs focus on three international campuses — Rome, Japan and Spain — but studying abroad with those programs may not align with all students’ major-specific requirements and could lead to difficulties acquiring all necessary credits to graduate in four years.
James Allers, a sophomore architecture major, is struggling to plan his future study abroad experience because Tyler School of Art and Architecture does not offer an individualized study abroad program for its students.
“I would have to wait either until the spring of my junior year or the fall of my senior year, and that’s also depending on the amount of courses I’m taking or if I’m ahead or not, because they will only offer certain courses in Rome or Tokyo,” Allers said.
Allers has completed most of his general education requirements, so studying abroad would not align with the remaining credits he needs to graduate because the overseas campuses mostly offer gen-eds rather than major-specific classes
At all of the campuses outside of the United States, most classes are at the 1000-2000 level, which typically apply to introductory courses or gen-ed requirements, like economics, English and quantitative literacy.
However, students most commonly study abroad during their junior year, according to Temple’s Education Abroad and Overseas Campuses website. Many upperclassmen have already completed many gen-eds by their third year and need to focus on classes relating to their majors, so studying abroad during the fall or spring semesters in junior or senior year could deter graduation progress.
To avoid offsetting their graduation date, students could study abroad during summer sessions, but it can cost almost as much, if not more, than a typical semester on Main Campus. For example, the cost to attend a 10-week summer semester at Temple’s Japan campus begins at around $16,600, including tuition, airfare and personal costs.
The extra semester isn’t a reasonable expense for students to take on in addition to spring and fall semester tuition, unless they earn a scholarship to help cover the cost of a summer abroad. However, many students use their summer break to work and save money or gain internship experience.
All students should have opportunities to study abroad during the academic year because it opens them up to new experiences to help them develop career skills for post-graduation.
Studying abroad leads to increased hireability, higher starting salaries, quicker job acquisition and higher acceptance into graduate school, according to IES Abroad, a non-profit organization that provides study abroad programs for college students in the United States.
Beyond future academic aspirations, experiences abroad also impact how students interact with individuals from cultures different from their own, which can increase people’s personable and professional skills and expose students to a broader worldview.
“I think people come back with a bigger sense of what’s out there in the world and how to interact with others that are culturally very different from what they normally encounter on a day-to-day basis,” said Amy Kumpf, senior associate director at Fox.
Having fall and spring study abroad options that align with school and major-specific requirements available would give students from all colleges the opportunity for a more enriching and productive college experience.
By providing personalized study abroad programs for students within Temple’s colleges, everyone would have the opportunity to further their education, explore new cultures and gain lifelong experience on campus and beyond.