Beyond the books, prospects abroad

A wealth of opportunities is available to students in the form of various study abroad programs that happen year round. Plans are currently in the works to offer more in the near future.

“The university is pushing the study abroad program for all students in all departments,” said Dr. Jim King, study abroad coordinator. “This year the business department is offering four study abroad opportunities, which is the most we’ve offered in one year before”

Ecuador, Canada and China are the destinations for the undergraduate trips, and the sign-up deadlines are still in the future for all three.

Between programs directly sponsored by UMHB and those by the college’s partners in cooperatives, there are 20 to 25 different study abroad trip available for students.

“One of our larger programs is the London studies program,” King said. “Students take the entire spring semester and travel to the city to take courses and see the sights. It is unbelievable that students can spend a semester there for the price they offer.”

The cost of the London studies program is $14,500, which includes tuition, rooming allowance,  small food stipend, tickets to class-related events and a transportation card for use in the city. One of the few things not included is the cost of round-trip airfare, which could cost around $800.

“There are seven courses available for students to take in the London program right now, and the cost doesn’t go up if students take five courses rather than four,” said Dr. David Holcomb, the London studies director. “However, there is so much to do in London that some students take four courses just to have more free time.

“While we are there, we also try to keep the students’ weekends relatively free so they can explore as they want,” Holcomb said. “They can usually go to the main continent whenever they want, and travel prices are pretty cheap.”

The deadline to apply for the London program was Sept. 15, so this year’s trip is already booked, but Holcomb said he begins looking for students to apply early in the spring, so it’s soon going to be time to begin preparations for the 2012 trip.

Another study abroad program that may interest students of a Christian college is the Israel trip Dr. Stephen Wyrick heads up every year.

“We leave for the Holy Land on Dec. 27 and spend 15 days in Israel, returning just before the start of spring semester,” Wyrick said. This year’s cost is $4,819, which includes tuition, but you do not have to take the course for credit.”

Students are not the only people to participate in the Israel trip. Missionaries from the local area and various community officials travel with the school.

“It is an academic program and that is what attracts other people to join us,” Wyrick said.

Students get to visit many historical sites from the Bible and other sources during the trip. Wyrick said the city of Jerusalem is a typical favorite of people who participate in the program.

“One of the favorites for the students, I think, is the Sea of Galilee, because it has so much biblical significance,” Wyrick said. “Regardless, I don’t think anyone returns from this trip and reads passages from the Bible in the same way. It’s just amazing.”

Early deposits and registration for the Israel trip must be in by Oct. 1.

“In a global society such as ours, you need this exposure to have a bigger world view,” King said.

“I think it is important for every student to have a foreign studies experience during their time in college.”

More information can be found at umhb.edu/studyabroad where directors can be contacted for registration.

Author: Artie Phillips

Bio info coming soon!

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