Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Get with the program


Whether you’re majoring in international business or visual arts, whether you can travel for 10 days or 12 months, whether you prefer classes in English or Japanese, there’s a study abroad program for you.

The Office of International Programs (OIP) offers or helps students with four main program types, and every type can be tailored to you.

“There’s a range of opportunity of what we can do, depending on what a student’s interests, vocation they want to go into, how long they can be abroad, how much money they have,” explained Catherine Meschievitz, director of OIP.

As with funding your study abroad trip (see the “A wealth of options” article), however, timing is key. The sooner you explore the options, the more you’ll have to pick from.

“If the student plans early in their student career and comes to talk to us to look at those options,” Meschievitz added, “we’re more likely [to be able to] help them to find the program that fits their needs.”

Whatever your needs are, here’s a crash course in study abroad programs:

Faculty-led programs:

Programs led by FAU faculty members are all short-term. They range from one to six weeks in length, yet allow students to get three to seven credits out of the way. Because most of them run during the summer, they’re a popular option for students who may not be able to study abroad for a whole semester.

FAU students are usually the only ones in the courses offered on faculty-led programs, and at least one course is always taught by an FAU professor, according to Meschievitz.

Most faculty-led programs are open to undergraduate and graduate students of all majors and all levels of foreign language skills, but some have very specific requirements. To learn more about the 2011 faculty-led programs — in countries like Ireland and Ecuador — read the “Redefining summer school” article.

Exchange programs:

FAU offers exchange programs at partner universities abroad. This type of program allows an FAU student to study abroad while a foreign student studies at FAU.

Exchange programs typically last one semester or one academic year; however, shorter versions are available during the summer.

Jessica Sanchez-Dopazo studied at Germany’s Dessau Summer School of Architecure during the summer of 2008. When she graduated with a degree in architecture two years later, her study abroad experience helped her score a job with an architecture firm.

“What go their attention was that I studied abroad [there],” she said of the Dessau program. The firm also liked that her experience abroad gave her a broader background, she said, because she had traveled and picked up a foreign language while abroad.

Similar to exchange programs are direct enroll programs, which allow students to directly enroll for courses at a partner university abroad.

Other Florida state schools’ programs:

If FAU’s program options don’t suit you, look into study abroad programs at other Florida state universities. They all accept students from other state schools, and you can still apply your Bright Futures if you travel for a fall or spring semester.

Almost all of Florida’s 10 other state universities offer study abroad programs, but according to Meschievitz, Florida State’s and the University of Florida’s options are the most developed.

“Definitely don’t be afraid to look at other schools’ programs, because they’re all over the place,” said marketing major Brandon Hall. He spent a semester in Valencia, Spain, on an FSU program because he wanted to stay in a coastal city.

Provider programs:

In addition to FAU and other universities, outside companies also offer study abroad programs, known as provider programs or affiliate programs.

“Program providers have done much of the work for students and offer housing options, a variety of courses, student activities, excursions, and occasionally flights,” according to OIP’s website.

Although Meschievitz said they tend to be more expensive, OIP has a list of approved providers and can help students research others. Commonly used companies include the American Institute for Foreign Study, CEA Global Education and International Studies Abroad.

James Fichera, now an alumnus, chose a Center for Study Abroad program when he wanted to study in Japan. It offered an affordable home stay option, he said.




There are two basic types of housing options for students while abroad: home stay and everything else.

Home stay is when a student lives in the home of a local individual or family, sometimes referred to as a “host family.” It’s a great way to improve your foreign language skills and experience the local culture on a more personal level.

“If somebody has the chance to stay at a home stay, I definitely recommend it because you get the full experience,” said Eva Cantillo, a communication major who is minoring in Spanish. When she studied abroad in Spain last summer, Cantillo lived with a woman who “didn’t speak any English at all.”

Shulu Potter, an international business major who spent a year in Costa Rica, agreed and offered this advice: “Spend as much time with the host family as you can and getting to know the host family’s friends, because then you have a better experience with the culture of the country.”

Other housing options include dorms, hotels and apartments. Depending on the type of study abroad program they pursue, students may live alone, with other FAU students, or with students from other universities.



For more details on study abroad programs, visit OIP’s website: www.fau.edu/goabroad (click on one of the four options under “Study Abroad Opportunities”). To find out which works best for you, contact OIP ASAP at (561) 297-1208 or [email protected]. Whichever program type you pursue, it’s important to work with OIP to ensure your credits will transfer back to FAU.



There’s more: This article is part of a special issue about study abroad. To read more articles from the issue, see the “Related Articles” box beneath the photos.

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