How can I study abroad and still graduate on time?

By Emily Carle

The thrill and pull of studying abroad is something tough to shake especially as a college student. Maybe you see your friends and classmates posting pictures on Facebook and their blogs from their faraway travels, and you think to yourself: “How can I do that?”

It may seem simple for Fashion students or for Architecture students, but in reality it is very easy for many majors to study abroad and still graduate on time. There are many different kinds of programs for students that vary in length and location. Perhaps a summer in Australia can be worked into a schedule. The Office of International Affairs has all of the study abroad programs for students and also has contact information for any outside program students may want to complete. Also, Kent State participates with National Student Exchange that allows students from around the country to study at other colleges and universities in the United States.

If these shorter or closer programs still won’t satiate your desire, there are great opportunities as a College of Communication and Information student built into the college. As a student in the School of Communication Studies, School of Journalism and School of Visual Communication Design, there is a CCI Florence program that you can look into that will allow you to take CCI classes while studying in Florence, Italy. Classes include a Practicum in European Media, Comparative Media that count towards JMC or COMM credits or even classes like European Issues that can count towards upper-division electives. Studying in Florence, everyone is required to take some kind of Italian language, but all of the professors are Italian yet speak English fluently and create a positive learning environment.

As a student with CCI Florence, you also have the chance to take field trips around Italy to different news and media outlets and you are able to fully grasp the European and Italian media scene. I studied abroad with the CCI Florence program, and it opened my eyes to a different world of media. Though I definitely learned about the similarities, it was even more interesting for me to see the differences and I would say it helped me understand American media even better. Also, these classes were counting right towards my major, so while I was learning and I was also helping out my course requirements.

For most students, I would recommend studying abroad, especially with the CCI Florence program, your junior year. At this point, most students have taken a good amount of their major classes and have a good grasp on college classes. Also, when you return back to the Kent Campus, you will have at least a full year to tie up any loose ends before graduation. It also helps because you tend to have a lot of skills built up by your junior year, either in writing scripts to editing film, even the Italian language. All of these can be helpful for you in Florence. If you can’t your junior year though, travel abroad when you can.

Whatever program you decide to do, do it to the fullest. After I came back from Florence, I couldn’t stop talking about my experience and I encourage everyone to at least look into studying abroad. There are a lot of avenues to take, all are valid and valuable. There are so many people out there to help you along on your journey; it’s almost silly to not research it. I am a huge supporter of studying abroad, so talk to people who have been abroad, talk to your advisor, talk to your family, talk to financial aid, whoever you have to make study abroad possible!

Emily Carle is a Senior Applied Communication Studies major and a marketing assistant in the Dean’s Office of the College of Communication and Information.

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