Students prepare to study abroad
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 21:09
Even though PUC is a local university, students are able to broaden their horizons and go to places around the world thanks to study abroad programs.
Immigration Adviser April Valentine said Professor Maria Luisa Garcia-Verdugo formed the first PUC study abroad program to Spain in 1998. Ten years later, French Professor Jin Lu formed the program giving students the opportunity to study in France.
“Students can participate in faculty-led programs with their peers as an exchange student in a partner university or study with other American students in organized centers,” Valentine said. “Programs are available in nearly every country in the world.”
The International Program Office at PUC helps both students and faculty coordinate study abroad programs.
“The International Programs Office helps faculty develop and promote their international courses and helps students select and apply for the educational program that best fits their academic, professional and personal goals,” Valentine said.
Once students find a study abroad program that interests them, Valentine said they must find out if they are eligible by checking certain criteria. Academic and disciplinary standing, grade point average and completion of necessary prerequisite courses must be reviewed before a student is considered eligible to study abroad. Once approved, students can apply for a specific program, providing an essay, letters of recommendation, transcripts and any financial information that the program organizer may request. Valentine added that it is common for students to be required to submit a deposit and sometimes must include payment for an application.
Another necessity, Valentine said, is obtaining a passport and beginning financial preparations.
“It is never too early to apply for a passport,” Valentine said. “Students should begin to plan early for the financial aspect of the program by speaking with a financial aid counselor to learn if and how their aid will apply.”
Valentine said the number and types of PUC study abroad programs available are growing. One of the upcoming study abroad programs offered by the department of foreign languages and literatures is a trip to Granada, Nicaragua, spanning Oct. 14-21.
The program will be hosted by “Viva Nicaragua” and is limited to 10 students. During the trip, students will engage in volunteer work, assisting teachers and nurses in schools and clinics. Garcia-Verdugo said students will need to bring school supplies or medical supplies to help the children living in the poverty-ridden country.
But the trip is not all work. Students will also visit places such as San Juan del Sur Beach, Lake Nicaragua Islands and Mombacho Volcano. Garcia-Verdugo said students will attend workshops as well.
“The official city historian and architect will talk to the students about the development of the city and the recent history of Nicaragua,” Garcia-Verdugo said. “They will also explain the special role of Nicaragua in the history of social justice in Central America.”
The recommendation of Nicaragua as location for study abroad came from students.
“Three of our students went on their own [to Nicaragua] in the past years and asked the faculty to go check out the program because they were very impressed with the people and the quality of the program,” Garcia-Verdugo said.
Spanish major Savannah Herrera said she hopes to gain more knowledge in Spanish, broaden her perspective and gain more experience through the Nicaragua program. She has been going on study abroad trips since summer 2011, when she went to Caceres, Spain. Since then, Herrera has taken trips to countries such as Italy and Portugal.
“I love to travel. I love to meet new people and experience other cultures,” Herrera said. “I am most positive that each trip has made an impact on my life. To pinpoint them at the moment is not possible because I would have a lot reflecting to do.”