BY EMILY HARTUNG
“What, there are study abroad programs other than Austria?” This is the typical response of Franciscan University of Steubenville students when they hear about the University’s other opportunities for studying abroad.
According to Ann Dulany, who helps direct study abroad opportunities other than the Austria program for Franciscan students, only about three to five students take advantage of these opportunities each semester.
“It is mostly language majors who do these programs and go to other countries in order to be immersed in the culture,” said Dulany. Clearly, study abroad programs are great tools to accomplish that, but they are not just for language majors, she said. “Franciscan University encourages all students to take advantage of these opportunities. “
Many of these other study abroad opportunities are offered through the BestSemester program. This program is facilitated by the Christian Council for Colleges, of which Franciscan University is an affiliate. Students can participate in any of study abroad opportunities offered by BestSemester contingent upon acceptance to the program and approval by Franciscan. Depending upon course availability, the BestSemester program offers students 12 different study abroad options to choose from. These options include programs in Costa Rica, Australia, Uganda, China, India, England and the Middle East.
Dulany said, “When a person participates in one of these programs they are still considered students of Franciscan University. All of the credits that they take at these affiliate universities will automatically transfer back to Franciscan.”
In order to participate in one of these programs, it is important to start early and plan ahead. Dulany recommends that students start to plan six months to a year before they plan to go.
There are applications to fill out, for both Franciscan and the school that the student would like to spend a semester at. It is also important to meet with an academic advisor to ensure that all coursework is met with approval. Of course, all final course approval records and transcripts must be sent to Franciscan’s Office of the Registrar to ensure that they are accounted for.
The cost of these programs differs based on Franciscan’s policies and the affiliate school’s policies. However based on students’ experiences through BestSemester, it seems that they would deem the experience to be worth the price.
For instance, Cedarville University student Deborah Blitzer, who traveled to Australia through the BestSemester program, said that the experience heightened her trust in God and caused her to grow as an individual. Blitzer wrote, “I have learned I can continue to follow the path I am called to with a trust that has no borders.”
For more information about the BestSemester programs, visit www.bestsemester.com.
Besides the BestSemester programs, Franciscan students can also apply to spend a semester in Nashville, Tenn., Los Angeles or Washington, D.C. These three programs are specific to certain majors.