Faculty-led programs offer life-changing opportunities for students

For many students, traveling abroad feels out of reach for a variety of reasons; two big ones being financial restrictions or discomfort about leaving home for long periods of time. 

Faculty-led programs provide an alternative to leaving home for months at a time as well ease the financial stress of studying abroad.

The cost of these trips is included in the course fees so students know what to expect and are much shorter durations than the much-publicized semester or year-long adventures. 

“Currently we have 10 programs for the spring and fall. A lot of our programs do take place during the spring academic calendar, said Anna Ochs, Assistant Director of the Center for Global Engagement. “They’re a couple weeks before the spring semester, over spring break or a couple of weeks in May.”

A few programs worth noting this year are th sports business management program to Netherlands and Iceland led by Suzannah Armentrout, the Criminal Justice Winter Break Study Abroad Tour to Europe led by Tamara Tucker Wilkins and the Dental Health Study Abroad led by Bridgette Cooper.

These programs can be life-changing experiences for many students. 

Bridgette Cooper, the faculty member heading the Dental Health Study Abroad program, stated, “It is life-changing for the students. A lot of them have never been out of the country before, so to see how other people live is eye-opening for them and creates a desire to do volunteer work as they graduate and begin their careers.”

This trip is designed to provide dental hygiene care for individuals impoverished countries who may not have otherwise have the opportunity to receive care. 

Because these programs are based on furthering a student’s education, they help students expand their knowledge and, in the case of the Dental Health Study Abroad, put their skills into practice for a good cause.

Wilkins is leading a seven day program that will take place in Europe over the winter break for Criminal Justice students. She has led many trips and said that these programs give students the chance to learn outside of the classroom.

“It takes stepping away from home to see how others around the world see, think, and do things,” she said.

The benefits for students going on these trips are vast, from cultural exposure, challenging students to step out of their comfort zones and so much more. 

Anderson, who is leading the Sport Management program, said there are endless benefits to traveling abroad to further an education.

“They [students] will learn about sport innovation, get to compare/contrast the European model of sport management with the American model, be exposed to different cultures, work with different cultures, learn about issues, challenges, and trends in European sport management, etc,” she said. “All of this will help them with their problem solving and communication skills which are so important to employers. Studying abroad helps students grow as an individual as well!”

Photo caption: The Global Engagement office allows students to learn more about study-abroad trips, some of those offered by faculty-led programs where students can spend a shorter amount of time in another country. (Dominic Bothe/The Reporter)

Write to Andrea Schoenecker at

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