By Stefan Krestakos
Broad Student Writer
Michigan State University offers more than 275 study abroad programs in more than 60 countries. The number of programs can be overwhelming, but a number of resources are available to help decide which program is the best fit.
The Office of Study Abroad offers a convenient web page to search programs by subject, semester, country, or length. The Broad College also offers a tool to search business-specific programs.
Gil Harrell, professor of marketing, cannot speak highly enough of studying abroad. “No classroom can substitute for being in a foreign place, learning first hand about significant challenges and solutions. Employers tell me that students who travel on study abroad programs possess the energy, attitudes and inquisitiveness to explore new horizons, attributes highly valued by the best recruiters.
“For many students, being immersed with other Spartans and experts in a culture with subtle and dramatic contrasts to the U.S. is life changing,” he said.
Harrell has conducted approximately 35 study abroad programs serving more than 1,000 students in 10 countries. This summer, he will conduct programs in Paris, Barcelona, London, and Zurich.
He explains that the agenda for these programs is very full. Each student works with every other student early in the program in on-site, team-based learning contests. Other activities include company-sponsored visits and conferences with top executives; cultural excursions to famous destinations; European Union presentations; U.S. Embassy on-site briefings; and classroom course presentations.
Stephanie Solimano (Hospitality Business ’16) would also recommend study abroad to her peers. She found her program by searching the Office of Study Abroad’s website for trips to Italy in the 2015 summer semester.
“I always wanted to go overseas and study abroad seemed like a good opportunity to do that,” Solimano said. “I was there for five weeks and took six credits. I took an IAH class on ancient ruins, and the class was actually on site at ruins in Italy.”
“I’m still in touch with five or six people I met on study abroad, and we’ve made plans to visit each other when we can,” she said. “If you have the opportunity to study abroad, I would absolutely do it.”