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PUMPED for Study Abroad

October 13, 2006   Don’t get me wrong, I love it here on the hill. But the thought of going abroad during some part of my junior year is so exciting. I really want to study at Kings College in London next fall, which really doesn’t leave me much time. I need to apply before this March (because of rolling admission) and need to declare my leave of absence early next semester. So I need to get start finalizing everything…and maybe actually look at what the application process entails…I should really get on that. Anyway, here’s the lowdown on Hamilton’s particular study abroad program:

About 60% of juniors study abroad for either one or two semesters each year. They can choose between Hamilton’s own programs in New York City, Washington D.C., Spain, France or China. The New York City program is really popular (a few of my friends are desperately trying to get in), and the theme changes every year (next fall is economics). While in New York, you take classes with a Hamilton Professor and also have an internship with a “globally focused firm or organization.”  I want to go, and I don’t even like Econ! Hamilton also has about 180 preferred programs in over 50 countries. That’s A LOT of options. Some programs offer home-stays with a host family, apartment living with other American students, or dorm living with other students of that university.

If you decide to go to a country where English isn’t the national language, you must take either four semesters (French, German, Russian, Spanish, Latin, Greek) or two semesters (Italian, Chinese, Japanese) of that language at Hamilton. If we don’t offer that language, then you still need to take it while you’re abroad at the university. You also need to finish your three writing intensive classes, sophomore seminar, and 3 quarters of gym in order to be eligible.

Hamilton greatly encourages study abroad, so students are able to experience new cultures, etc. (I know it sounds cliché). It seems like every other week, Carol Drogus (one of the study abroad directors) hosts an info session to explain the process. Some of the program preferred programs, like Arcadia University and Butler University, also have info sessions and pass out piles and piles of literature (I want to study at Kings through Arcadia and still have that giant booklet of all the programs from last year). There is also the “Foreign Exchange Coffee Hour” that has become a regular weekly event in Café Opus. Students who studied abroad during previous semesters host a little get together and hand out coupons for Opus goodies (muffins, coffee, COOOKIES, etc.). I recently went to the one for the UK, and spoke to seniors that studied at Oxford, University of Kent and University of Edinburgh. Unfortunately, no one studied in London, but I was able to get feedback on what studying abroad in the UK is like. This week the theme is Prague and Italy. Very cool.

So that sums up study abroad. And I hope you’re excited. Because I REALLY am.