Written by: Jacob Sabolo
Every year, the study abroad program sends students, faculty and staff all over the world to learn firsthand about other cultures.
The Study Abroad program at DePaul University always has been about embracing differences. Students, faculty and staff embark on journeys in foreign countries, study or teach at different universities, encounter new cultures and have experiences they never would have received in Chicago. Understanding those differences is perhaps more relevant than ever.
“If we want our students to be world-ready, then we need to teach them how to interact with the world, effectively, sensitively and with purpose,” says Martha McGivern, director of the study abroad program at DePaul. “Students come back with the context of the world in mind. They’re able to interact with people who are different from them in school, work and community settings. They understand that the rest of the world affects us, and they understand that their actions affect the world as well.”
DePaul sends more than 1,000 students abroad to more than 35 countries every year. While some students participate in traditional programs—a semesterlong or yearlong program at another university—nearly 70 percent of students study abroad with faculty and staff members. Students study with a professor for a quarter and then travel abroad during the winter, spring or summer break.
DePaul also offers First Year Abroad (FY@broad), a short-term program that combines first-year coursework with a travel abroad opportunity. According to McGivern, encouraging students to study abroad their freshman year makes it easier for them to plan ahead academically and financially for additional study abroad trips.
“These experiences change students’ lives,” says McGivern. “Students come back and say, ‘I interact with my family and friends differently. I changed my major. I added a minor. I have new ideas on what I want to do professionally.’ They realize how they fit into the rest of the world.”
Read the rest of Jacob Sabolo’s article here on DePaul Magazine’s website.
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