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The Northerner

Studying Abroad in Europe

Rich Shivener

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Every academic year, Northern Kentucky University students study in Scotland, England, France, and virtually any other country besides the United States of America. They stay at these foreign places for weeks at a time, sometimes a semester and sometimes a whole year.

Between her junior and senior year at Ohio State University, Amy Bode studied abroad in Hungary, where she took business classes. She said it was definitely worth the trip.

“I was only in Hungary for two weeks, but I traveled for several weeks (around Europe) afterwards, and it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done,” she said. “I think that going overseas for a lot of Americans, especially college students, gain a lot of independence … it really does challenge you to push your comfort zone.”

GETTING HELP

Four years and counting, Bode has worked as a specialist at the Office of International Programs, located in Founders Hall.

Her job, she said, along with the other staffers in the office, is “to provide services for students who want to study abroad.”

“So basically if a student comes in and wants to participate in a (study abroad) program, we help them out,” she said.

NKU is affiliated with the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad (CCSA) which is, according to Bode, “a contortion of about 23 universities that conduct programs in English speaking countries.”

She mentioned that NKU students tend to study in western Europe; however, some desire to go elsewhere, even non-English speaking countries, which aren’t associated with CCSA or NKU, but rather, the Kentucky Institute of International Studies (KIIS). Bode has no qualms about that.

“If they want to go to a program in another country that NKU is not represented in, then I can help them do research and find the particular program,” she said.

“I want to make sure the students are doing what they want to do … U.S. universities or organizations offer hundreds of programs that U.S. students can participate in, so the possibilities are limitless.”

Bode said most financial aid that students receive for the academic year can be used to study abroad, since they are receiving academic credit. Also, she added, “NKU has committed $50,000 every academic year (for the past four years) in the form of the International Study Scholarship.” It is based however on financial need, so filing out a FAFSA form is necessary.

OVERSEAS FEAR

With the London bombings and the War on Iraq, Bode said NKU officials are well aware of what danger students could face overseas.

“NKU, in this office in particular, does a really good job of keeping most up-to-date with what’s going within the security concerns of Americans overseas,” she said. “We’re constantly contacting the U.S Department of State about any new travel warnings or travel advisories that are issued for Americans overseas.”

Furthermore, she said, “I would also tell students that some of the programs that NKU conducts, (we’ve) been going to these places for almost 20 years. It’s important for students to know that we have well-established contacts in these countries and we have companies that we work with whether it’s regarding public transportation or accommodations.”

“There is hopefully an altruist reason that students want to go and that is to break down barriers between Americans and the other people of the world. There are a lot of misconceptions about Americans and stereotypes that other people hold based on what they see in the media, and if we as Americans can go overseas and individuals and meet up individuals of other cultures we can help breakdown those stereotypes. ”

REBEL YELL

Over of the course of the NKU winter break, Dr. John Alberti is teaching what he loves most: rock’n’roll and literature.

Through CCSA, he teaches an English class abroad titled “Rebels, Rockers and Revolutionaries,” which is held in London. Along with reading authors like Virginia Wolfe, Alberti gives his students CDs of British groups, such as The Beatles, Radiohead and The Clash, to listen to before they get to London.

“I’ve always been interested in British pop music and I have a degree in English literature so it really combines training and interest”, Alberti said. “I’ve had a special interest for literature and music that has a political edge to it or that has social commentary.”

He’s always opted to give his students their assignments before the trip.

“I don’t want you spending your time in London sitting in your room doing the reading assignment,” he said.

Of course, Alberti could teach this topic class here at NKU, but he thinks that it wouldn’t be same.

“It (just) seemed like a really good topic to have students in London because of the opportunity to attend live cultural events,” he said. “It’s very different than just reading (or listening) about it from afar.”

Alberti has taught this class three times in London, all of which were in the winter, and he’s loved it.

“For a teacher, it just ideal. Every minute that you’re there, even doing your laundry,” he laughed, “it’s changing the way you look at the world. (My class) is just a can’t-lose class.”

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Studying Abroad in Europe