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An inside look at studying abroad during intercession

When considering the college experience, some consider it to be some of their most adventurous years, with new opportunities around everyone corner. In a multitude of situations, college students find themselves immersed in a new culture, not just academically, but physically. Study abroad programs are a ‘must’ on many students’ bucket lists, but as a such a daunting and time-consuming task, a young adult may shy away from making such a large leap away from their home country. However, the rising popularity of a faculty-led winter Intercession study abroad trip might be changing this notion.

One popular program on the University campus is the Classic Civilization learning community, where students take Ancient Philosophy and Literature in the fall, visit Greece for two weeks in the winter, and continue studying Philosophy and Greek History for the spring semester. By doing this program, students can get a taste of the Greek culture without disrupting a full semester. Samantha Fundinger, a current participant in this learning community, had nothing but positive remarks. With being an active member in the University community, Fundinger found that it might be a difficult task to balance club activities, work, and major requirements with a semester away from the main campus. Therefore, she determined the winter intercession trip would be a perfect fit for her and her schedule.

Another benefit for her was still having the access to her full summer break. While in Greece, the students will be touring the ancient sights and sitting on lectures of the Greek universities, getting a condensed feel of a study abroad semester. Following the trip, the students of the learning community will take their newly gained knowledge of the country and put it into use in their spring courses.

The intercession trip sounds like the perfect balance, but, there are some drawbacks. According to Julia Bush, one of the biggest downsides is scheduling. In this specific program, the Classic Civilization courses are worth 12 credits, not leaving much room for other core or exploratory courses. Besides this, however, Bush would encourage others to take a winter Intercession study abroad experience, perfectly characterizing the trip as, “…a taste of what a full study abroad semester would be. I recommend the trip to anyone who is hesitant about dedicating a full semester.” As these students prepare for their embarkation across the world, may they, put best by Greek writer Euripides: “Experience, travel – these are as education in themselves.”

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