Let the world be your class

It has been a year since I first asked the Academic Programs coordinator at the International Programs office, Tania Tucker-Kraus, about studying abroad in Spain. Truth is I spent one of the best months of my life in Madrid. The nightlife, bocadillos (delicious sandwiches made with fresh French bread) the marketing class with Professor Enrique, historic museums and sights, and last but not least, the sneak preview to the movie “Before Sunset” all made for one of the most enriching experiences I have lived through.

The International Programs Office was founded over 15 years ago. In addition to the ever growing study abroad programs, they also host study abroad fairs each fall and spring semesters. As a matter of fact their first annual photography contest was held last October. It included photographs from those who had studied the summer 2004. As Tania Tucker-Kraus explains, “There has been a national increase of college students studying abroad, not only at FAU.” This year alone, four hundred FAU undergraduate and graduate students are participating. Students of outside universities as well as FAU alumni can join in this growing trend, which also happens to be a great rí©sumí© booster. Their main mission as described on their website is: “to provide quality service in establishing, supporting, and coordinating the international activities for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty.” Every year new programs in various countries are added to the already existing list including: Ghana, Ecuador, Italy, South Korea, Thailand, Spain, Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, Germany, and even a cruise in the Caribbean.

They offer courses in various fields such as International Business/Marketing, Spanish Language/Culture, Italian Language/Culture, Archeology, Criminology, Nursing/Health, Engineering, and just added this year, a Multi-Disciplinary program. Study abroad sessions vary in length. The sessions range from two weeks to a year. It is just like taking classes at FAU but in another country. With the exception of a few classes, the courses are taught in English by FAU faculty.

In consideration of students’ safety FAU has a strict policy on not sending students to countries with federal travel warnings. The FAU faculty, have cell phones which students can always call for questions during their stay. Once you arrive, they go step by step over all the security measures, etc. The cost of each program is unique, but most start at about $1,235.00. However, as Tucker-Kraus explained, “There are several grants and scholarships for those who qualify, is just a matter of applying as early as you can.” If there is not a program that interests you, the IP office also aids with a list of programs fit for what you are looking for offered by other universities and organizations.

As Tucker-Kraus said, “We support students’ needs from the beginning to the end.” The most popular time to study abroad is during the summer. The deadline for most of the summer programs is April 15, 2005.

The Alumni of the study abroad programs at FAU can share the same opinion as Charlene Coello, a Communications major who studied abroad Summer 2004: “My experience in Italy was one that made me see life in a whole new way because of its beauty, culture, and breath taking history…My study abroad experience is something I carry with me every day of my life.”

If you are interested in study abroad programs and have questions, contact the International Programs office at 297-2580 or via their e-mail [email protected], their website is www.fau.edu/goabroad or you can stop by their office in the Student Services building Room 106.