On Wed., March 2, the Southern Miss Office (USA) of International Programs held a general interest meeting for students interested in studying abroad this summer.
Among the topics discussed were what programs are offered, how to receive financial aid, and how to apply for programs. Several professors also talked about the individual programs they direct and answered students’ questions.
Meredith Breckenridge, an aide in the Office of International Programs who led the meeting, said that summer programs are perfect for students who may not have time or financial means to study for an entire semester or year. Conveniently, Southern Miss offers a plethora of summer study abroad programs. Although application deadlines for many programs have passed, a number of other programs are currently accepting applications, including French in France, Spanish in Spain or Costa Rica, music or German in Austria, and British Studies.
The programs’ durations vary, lasting from ten days to five weeks, and have several educational, cultural, and enjoyable benefits, all of which are unique. For instance, students who study abroad in Costa Rica will not only take custom-tailored Spanish classes, but also spend a weekend at a secluded beach, visit an active volcano, and zip line through a tropical rainforest, among many other activities. Several other programs have a similar setup: not only will students be focusing on a particular subject, but elements of historical, social, and geographical nature are also present.
“Costa Rica has pretty much everything,” said Auxiliadora Arana, an instructor of the Spanish in Costa Rica program. “You’ve got the coastal Pacific and Atlantic. There’s surfing. We have volcanoes and rivers and mountains. They have everything when it comes to geographic nature.”
“For music students, it’s the center of what we do,” said assistant professor of music Edward Hafer of the Music in Austria program. “They can actually experience and live the history rather than learning about it in a classroom or a book. Instead of lecturing about something, I can say, ‘Behold! This is the church where it happened. You’re standing in the room where Beethoven lived.'”
“Studying abroad is not just traveling out of the States,” said Patrick Laughlin, a senior international business major who studied in France for a semester. “It’s traveling outside your comfort zone. And if you don’t want to do that, then you’re a big wuss.”
“Going over there and being there teaches you lessons for a lifetime,” Hafer said.
Application deadlines fall between March 4 and May 2. The costs for longer programs range from $3,599 to $5,999, but shorter and less expensive programs are also offered. For a complete list of programs and more information about summer study abroad programs, go to http://www.usm.edu/ip or visit International Programs on the fourth floor of the International Center.