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University Honors and Study Abroad: A Bold Partnership

April 1, 2014

2013-09-16_1379305360[1]A recent meme circulating on the Internet states: “I wish I had never gone traveling. Said no one. Ever!!”

Recognizing that the world, its cultures, peoples and states have much to offer, Northern Illinois University’s University Honors Program, in close cooperation with the Study Abroad Office, has worked to provide its students (and students across the campus as an extension of its commitment to service) several unique study abroad opportunities for the summer of 2014.

As part of its “Five Continents” Study Abroad opportunities, the program is sponsoring or collaborating on programs to Montreal, the Netherlands, China, Ghana and a planned program in Argentina to run in 2015.

As a part of President Doug Baker’s focus on student career success and setting a path for a bold future, the Honors Program is coordinating a university study abroad program to China.

Working in partnership with two universities (one in Chongqing and one in Taigu), this program will take students to Beijing, Xi’an, and many of the local sites in and around the two host cities. An assortment of topics ranging from Chinese history, film and cinema, family life, religion, law, and martial arts will be covered. The program will be led by Ping Yao, assistant professor in the NIU School of Nursing and Health Studies, who brings a wealth of experiences from his own background, to the program’s design and travels.

Students from any college and any major, regardless of their affiliation with University Honors, are eligible: Every undergraduate is welcome to apply. The costs for the 27-day, six credit programs are affordable.

Open to freshmen and sophomore students only, the study abroad experience in Montreal, Canada,is designed to provide students with their first foray into the wider world. While Canada may seem an unlikely place to confront cultural, linguistic, and intellectual challenges that are distinct from those experienced here at home, quite the opposite is the case. The good news is that a few spaces are still available for this summer!

Not only do students on this program have the opportunity to explore the beautiful city of Montreal, but they confront a culture with another language, deep convictions and even distinctive foods. On top of that, the students are given an expansive overview of a variety of topics including sports, government, technology, science and art.

“This is a program that exemplifies not only the value of an interdisciplinary education, but also the idea that one can be engaged in cross-cultural challenges very close to home,” said Vice Provost Anne Birberick, the program director.

The study abroad opportunity in Ghana is sponsored by the NIU Center for Non-Governmental Organization Leadership and Development and the Center for Black Studies. This program will introduce students to historical, cultural, artistic, and socioeconomic and developmental foundations of West African civilizations. Directed by LaVerne Gyant from the Center for Black Studies and Ismael Montana of the Department of History, the program is a reincarnation of a former program that had been inactive. One of the program highlights is its focus on engagement with the local communities through advocacy and field work. Spaces are also still open for this program.

The Hague Palace. Photo courtesy Christopher Jones.

The Hague Palace. Photo courtesy Christopher Jones.

With a focus on international justice, post-genocide reconciliation, globalization and international law, the study abroad program in The Hague, provides students with an opportunity to sit in on trials as well as speak with prosecutors, investigators, and those who help pursue justice on an international level. For 2015 program information, contact J.D. Bowers, associate vice provost for University Honors.

In addition to these programs, the Study Abroad office is still accepting applications for the following multi-disciplinary programs. These programs are open to Honors AND non-Honors students.

Students interested in any of these opportunities are encouraged to contact the Study Abroad Office by telephone at (815) 753-0700 or via email at [email protected] or the University Honors Program at [email protected].