June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.128.1 - 14.128.22
A Tailor-made Study Abroad Program for Undergraduate
Most universities and colleges aim to educate “global citizens and leaders of tomorrow”. For engineering and science programs, however, familiarity with a foreign language and time spent studying abroad are not an inherent part of their curricula. Because educating true global citizens is difficult when students have not experienced time outside of their comfort zones and in different cultural settings, creating an undergraduate study abroad program tailored particularly to engineering and science students is an essential innovation. Students gain a new knowledge and the opportunity to share it in new and challenging situations. Institutions that offer study abroad programs tailored to different student needs are better positioned to market to interested students, and can better present the uniqueness of their study programs.
Lafayette College has engaged in an undergraduate engineering study abroad program which is now entering its fifth year. The program was established with a firm set of institutional requirements guiding its development, including:
(i) A semester-long experience. (ii) Immersion in an international, non-anglophile culture. (iii) A partner institution providing English language instruction for coursework. (iv) Participation allowing completion of all engineering degree requirements in four years. (v) Congruent structures, such as the semester schedule (academic calendar). (vi) Congruent academic programs in terms of quality assurance.
This paper describes the developing partnership between Lafayette College, a small liberal arts college with an engineering program (in Easton, Pennsylvania) 3, and Jacobs University Bremen (located in the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, Germany) 1. Jacobs University is the only private, fully English-speaking, international university in Germany that offers courses in a wide range of the humanities and social sciences, as well as in the natural sciences and engineering. The process of locating an appropriate partner institution, the growth of the program, and the current assessment of the program’s success are discussed. Additionally, an explanation of the program requirements mentioned above is provided.
The study abroad program for Lafayette College engineering students includes a recruitment phase, pre-departure activities, an orientation period upon arrival in Germany, an explanation of course load requirements, preparation for integration into campus life and the local community while abroad, program-sponsored group excursions to points of interest in Europe, and activities and contributions to campus life upon return to Lafayette College. This paper also discusses the future directions of this program based on the past experiences, faculty reactions, and students’ input.
Although the program is designed to cater specifically to the needs of Lafayette College students, faculty and the institution as a whole cooperate in Jacobs University’s “tailor-made” approach to
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