Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Slideshow: Opportunity to increase worldliness

Northeastern University, a school of 15,339 undergraduates, evolved since it's inception in 1898 as an evening school, through the early- and mid-1900s as a commuter school, to now as a national research university. But it has also added an emphasis on the international community to further students understanding of the world -- which I think is a dire need in this age of War on Terrors and global financial crises.

For Northeastern students interested in getting in on that international experience, they can visit Northeastern's study abroad office to explore opportunities to take a semester overseas or in Mexico, Canada or somewhere South America.

However students may become disoriented when they discover that the study abroad office is not longer at the heart of campus at 301 Ell Hall. Now students must take the T to the Symphony stop or walk a little more than a half a mile to the new location.

At 101 Belvidere Street, in the Christian Science Plaza, I entered the office during walk-in hours to gain some understanding of the program. I was able to talk to Lily Chryssis, coordinator at the study abroad office, about the whole thing. She told me Northeastern has a diverse offering of 33 countries to allow students this experiential education. I'm actually interested in studying in Egypt to immerse myself in an Arabic speaking culture. Her estimate for my prospective study abroad: $20,400 billed to my student account, which is expensive but we'll see what financial aid is available later.

I asked her how many students are involved in the program now that it has blossomed since its inception in the late-80s.

"We're sending around 240 students for the spring of 2009," Chryssis said. "Our semester programs our growing but not as much as our faculty-led [cultural dialogue] programs."

In order to participate in a study abroad program one must attend an info session. At 6 p.m. last night one was led by Andrew Berry, a student who took elementary Arabic along with me. With a Power Point slide show to accompany him, Berry told about 30 students all they needed to know before submitting an application to become a Northeastern student at-large, as well as what they should be prepared for in making such a cultural transition.

"If you're in a conservative Arab-speaking country," Berry said, "don't walk around like a hoochie mama. Use your common sense. Represent Northeastern well."

Speaking of slide shows, I've linked a slide show with some more information on the study abroad program and its new office and some reporting on the info session. Either click on the link in the previous sentence or click the picture above to view the complete production.

Photo of Solomon Laditi raising his hand to Andrew Berry, seen above, as well as all photos featured in the Flickr slideshow that's linked to it were shot by Yours Truly with that lil' Kodak Easyshare.

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