SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Some 320 Slippery Rock University students will spend their spring break, March 16-23, studying abroad in nearly a dozen countries as part of spring semester courses that include an international travel component as a way of expanding their education.
"Each year we try to expand our offerings," said Pamela Frigot, director of SRU's International Services Office. New this year is travel to Cuba and Denmark. Other countries on this year's itinerary include Ireland, England, France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Costa Rica, the Bahamas and Greece.
"International education is an important piece of the educational fabric at SRU. For some of our students, this means working collaboratively with international students in class, while others take the opportunity to explore another culture by traveling with their professors and classmates for a spring break seminar," she said.
"These experiences encourage our students to consider alternative and sometimes contrasting viewpoints and practices, which in turn enables them to see America and our way of doing things in a different light. They usually come away with an understanding that one country, their people, and their traditions aren't better, but that they are simply different and appropriate for their culture. Additionally, the more opportunities they have to interact with people from diverse cultures, the better prepared they will be for their careers, so we aim to offer as many opportunities as possible" she said.
The course range for spring semester classes with an international component covers academic study in art to the latest in exercise science and rehabilitation, as well as geography, geology and the environment, philosophy, physical therapy, elementary and early childhood education and special education, among others.
Students who enroll in the designated spring semester courses spend their on-campus class time engaged in regular classroom studies, but know much of the discussion will come to life during their 10-day international study, Frigot said.
"These are opportunities for SRU students to participate in geological research, learn about educational approaches not seen in the U.S. and discuss sustainable business development in urban environments," Frigot said.
Twenty-three SRU students will spend their spring break in Ireland and Scotland, led by Robert Watson, interim vice president for student affairs, Brad Kovaleski, director of SRU's Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, and Laurel Dagnon, CSIL program director. The students, not part of a formal course, will use the time to explore student leadership in foreign universities.
Twenty students, led by Lorraine Craven, director of first-year and transfer student experiences, and Corinne Gibson, director of multicultural affairs, will travel to Ireland where they will focus on the intersection of diversity and human rights.
Students enrolled in Tom Como's "Art History Seminar" will visit art museums in both England and France.
Three courses in SRU's School of Business will use the break for international study: Diane Galbraith and Melanie Anderson, both associate professors, will take their "Organizational Behavior" classes to Ireland; Bruce Orvis, associate professor, will take his "Sales Management" class to Italy; and John Golden, instructor, will lead a group on "Economics of Sustainable Development" to England where they will also get the unique opportunity to experience the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London.
SRU's "The Inclusive Classroom," taught by Jodi Katsafanas, assistant professor of special education, will visit schools in Ireland to see how students with learning difficulties are integrated into the classroom setting, and students in Jeremy Lynch's "Interventions in Inclusive Classroom" course will see how such issues are handled in Costa Rica.
Another education class, "Leadership, Advocacy and Program Development," taught by Michelle Amodei, assistant professor of elementary education and early childhood development, will travel to Italy, while those in the "Early Childhood Education Theory" class, taught by Pamela Soeder, professor of elementary education and early childhood development, will visit classrooms in Ireland.
Fourteen students in the "Early Childhood Education Theory" course, taught by Linda Zane, assistant professor of elementary education and early childhood development, will explore European influences and current practices in Sweden.
The Bahamas will be the site study for students enrolled in SRU's "Oceanography" and "Advanced Geographic Information Systems" courses, taught by Tamara Schiappa, associate professor of geography, geology and the environment.
Katherine Cooklin, associate professor of philosophy, will lead her 13 "Philosophy of Law and Justice/Business Ethics" students to Cuba, and Richard Findler, professor of philosophy, will lead his "Great Books: Ancient Greece" honors class to Greece.
Kimberly Smith, associate professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences, will lead a contingent to Sweden and Denmark as part of the "Wellness Promotion and Programming" course, and Nancy Shipe, assistant professor in SRU's School of Physical Therapy, will take her "Healthcare Systems II" students to Spain to study physiotherapy from a European perspective as well as to share research with students and faculty at the University of Girona. They will also experience the highest level of world soccer when attending a match at FC Barcelona.
Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.