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university suggestions for study abroad semester

university suggestions for study abroad semester

Old Sep 26th, 2008, 02:11 PM
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university suggestions for study abroad semester

Hi,

DS is now a sophomore and I have opened the topic of pursuing a semester abroad for his junior year. I am sure that these things take planning and paperwork lead time, so the question is coming up now, not next year.

His major is mechanical engineering and he has minors planned for education and math.

With the hundreds (thousands?) of universities, do you have a suggestion? Something not too big, I think (his university has fewer than 10,000 students), where the professors have good interactions with the students.

DS's university does have recognized agreements with a number of foreign schools, but students can apply to almost any school (subject to final university approval, of course).

Anyone speak to any of these, the pre-approved schools? Many thanks for input/insights. (Yes, DS will do the final leg work and selection and effort of applying, but he knows I love the initial looking around

France
Université d’Angers

Germany
Fachhochschule Aalen
Internationale Fachhochschule Bad Honnef

Spain
Universidad de Santiago de Compostela

Turkey
Bilkent University

United Kingdom
University of East Anglia
University of Hull
Lancaster University
University of Sunderland
University of Wales Bangor
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Old Sep 26th, 2008, 02:39 PM
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Something to think about - for the schools outside the UK will the classes be taught in English or is the intent of these schools to teach the students a foreign language in addition to their normal studies.
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Old Sep 26th, 2008, 02:54 PM
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Have you considered Semester At Sea? My daughter just called from Namibia this morning and said it's the most amazing experience she's ever had. It's run by U VA.
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Old Sep 26th, 2008, 05:16 PM
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Exactly - in foreign univerisites in what languages will the courses be taught?

Separately, the university system in europe if much different than in the US - esp in terms of student/teacher interaction. You/he may want to look into that in advance.

I don;t know about engineering - but in the liberal arts a lot of what the students do is independent study - meeting with tutors to discuss topics on a not that frequent basis. (As a matter of fact we had limited interaction with most professors here - unless we went out of our way to initiate it. They were always willing to advise/discuss - but assumed long-term assignments were being done unless you went to consult them in office hours.)

I wouldn;t assume a lot of tutor hand-holding unless you check on it in advance.
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Old Sep 26th, 2008, 06:50 PM
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Would you son intend to take engineering classes while abroad? I think generally speaking that would be much more difficult in a foreign language, plus there are a lot of schools that don't even allow science students to study in their subject areas abroad because the programs at their home schools are so "rigid" in terms of what courses they have to take to graduate. If he's just planning a semester abroad to take humanities classes, then it's doable, but I wonder if he won't fall behind in his home-school program.
 
Old Sep 26th, 2008, 07:57 PM
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My daughter sailed on the Semester at Sea voyage this past spring and it was a superb experience. She was literally the very last student to leave the ship when it docked in Miami at the end of the voyage in May. I pretty much had to drag her off of the ship!

Margy
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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 02:49 AM
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i think all travel experiences are useful in some way. however, i have a hard time understanding why anyone would consider going on a cruise as being in the same category as 'studying abroad'.

you spend about 4 days or less at each port (and there aren't very many stops) and it is heavily geared toward american students (only 3% foreign students on the ship!)...some international experience. in fact i would imagine that most unis have a far higher % of foreign students than this programme. so it's likely you get a more international experience by just staying at home. you also do not get to experience another country's educational system in this kind of programme (assuming you are in an american uni).

china = 5 days spread between shanghai and hk! india = four days in one city. more than 60% of the time on the ship populated by 97% of americans. by what measure is this a global experience if you are american? if you are not from an american uni then it might qualify as such...although i would much rather do it the proper way.

even if you 'fall behind' a little (is there a timeline cast in stone?), doing a proper study outside of your home country is very useful for personal development imo.
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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 03:14 AM
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I think it is a wonderful opportunity.

I think the important thing is to not lose credits... I would not deal with getting credits transferred from another university, but work through his present school for their international programs. He should probably plan on doing many of his minor classes there-- the higher-level major classes will be much more difficult to transfer as they are typically more specific and have certain pre-reqs. (Is the education minor so he can ever teach? He should ensure those classes can be transferred for state requirements).

If he does not speak another language than the UK options would probably be best --

I did it. What made it 'easy' was going through my school - all the credits and grades showed up easily on my transcripts. It was a great experience and Mr. Surf and I have endowed a scholarship at our university for students doing a semester abroad.
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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 03:55 AM
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But why would you want your "dear son" (I assume that's what DS means) to go off and study abroad?
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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 04:12 AM
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Even with going to a pre-approved school in France (Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg), my daughter has been busy with getting all of her credits to transfer now that she is back in the states. She is a physics major and did take ALL of her classes in French. It was a fabulous experience and one thing that it really pointed up was the differences in educational systems. She failed a few classes during the year (not something she has done in the states), had to figure out how to assess herself when there was NO graded homework, tests, quizzes, etc. - nothing except the final exam and you either pass it or you don't. She found it difficult to get accurate info on small things like "when was the first and last day of class". She did not have warm and fuzzy interactions with the professors. Having said that, of course it was the most incredible experience, she'd do it again in a heartbeat, and she got so much more out of it than just one year of Physics.

So-again, my only caution would be to try to stick to a program that is pre-approved so that some of the learning curve has already been done. The Sciences seem to be so much more rigid in the series of coursework that I really can't imagine her having to go through any more than what she is doing now to be sure that most of her work last year will count.
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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 04:16 AM
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many of the Dutch Universities have English as their first language for certain subjects, so it is reasonable to think that maybe the approved univeristies also use English.
Of the Uk unis I would say if he wants to enjoy the area as well as the course then maybe Lancaster, East Anglia or Bangor are the favourites. Bangor itself is not that special, but it is right on the edge of Snowdonia.
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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 04:16 AM
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Thank you, all, for the replies. You are helping a lot!

Good point, adrienne, about language. I suspect if he does this at all that he will choose an English-speaking site.

Thanks for the info about the Semester at Sea. The thought of a boat makes me queasy, but I am not the one going on this semester

We went on his high school tour, a 10-day city tour to Amsterdam, Paris, and London. That trip I really did do the mother-push, but my son was willing to admit by the end that it was a great experience. He is also in the Honors College at his university; it Strongly encourages going off campus during the junior year.

Thank you, nytraveler, for the insight to the education differences, good to know about that in the planning stages.

I did find out in my searching last night that DS's university has a info. session from the study abroad office next week. I will be able to send him information to ask questions from these replies. Cheers!
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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 04:23 AM
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I was busy typing and see that the thread got some replies during that time.

Thanks for the reports, surfmom and AtlTravelr. I agree that this could be an experience of much more than just credits. I put it definitely in the "good for you" category!

Thank you, hetismij, for the information. It helps a lot. Cheers!
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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 05:16 AM
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This is a useful site for British universities
http://tinyurl.com/5fuegx

Scroll down to University Profiles to get an idea about different institutions
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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 05:30 AM
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Hi S,

Your son is studying MechE.

What is the purpose of this semester abroad?

A minor in Ed???

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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 12:10 PM
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Hi Ira,

Good questions .. partly because he can, perhaps?

I do know with his being in the Honors program that study abroad is encouraged because of the potenial benefits of travel. The very prescribed list of courses for engineering students may make it a bit more of a challenge to schedule and DS has really make his life .. interesting .. with choices made thus far.

He went in Sept for MechE and by Thanksgiving said he wanted to be a high school math teacher. I said, "Fine, dear." He registered for the spring semester with this in mind and by February break was thinking about staying in MechE. "Fine, dear" He'll just stay in school an extra bit to get any/all required courses.

MissPrism, thank you for the link!

Lancaster was listed in the top choices for math. (Edinburgh was listed for two of his three, but he is not besotted with Scotland as I am, lol).

Perhaps he can take some education and math courses and to do that in a different education culture could make a great experience for reflection on the education process. Cheers!
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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 12:22 PM
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Hi S,

>he wanted to be a high school math teacher.<

You have had him to a psychologist, have you not?

I am an Engr.

I taught at a major state university for a number of years.

Engineering, even ME, is not for the faint of heart or the dilettant.

If he is serious about engineering and wants a semester abroad, I think that Manchester would be a good school for him.


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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 12:40 PM
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When I told people that my daughter was studying in France they were surprised that she was not a French major. One special academic endeavor - her class took an overnight "field trip" to the CERN accelerator in Geneva. Pretty cool stuff for a Physics major.
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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 12:45 PM
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Does your son's university have an interim? Many schools have an interim in January or late May or early June interim during which time students have one intensive class. This is a good opportunity for non-foreign language majors to travel abroad and study without class scheduling issues.
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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 01:36 PM
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My neice did her junior year in Copenhagen about three years ago. It was set up through her college..Sonoma State..the company was DIS..that's all I know. She took early childhood development and she was required to take Danish the entire school year.

The school was strict and much more difficult that her experience at Sonoma State. There also was not a lot of assistance like sometimes students can get here in the US. She was flunking Danish her first semester and went to her counciler to see about getting some kind of tutoring and was told basically to just suck it up, try harder, she knew it was hard when she signed up to got there and that was that.

Lukily, she's very tenacious, stuck it out, had a different teacher second term and got an "A".

The school in Copenhagen was fairly small so it helped her to get to know people pretty quickly. It was a great experience for her.
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