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UW-RF Offers New Study Abroad Program

By Molly Exner
UW-RF News Bureau

NOV. 18, 2004--The University of Wisconsin-River Falls is offering a new study abroad program, the International Traveling Classroom, to students who wish to travel, live and study across Europe while completing a full semester's worth of coursework.

The first-ever study abroad program of its kind offered by the University departs for Europe in January 2005. Students will travel to several different locations, such as Paris, London, Berlin and Vienna. While traveling aboard, students also will be enrolled in UW-RF courses.

Currently, the University offers several study abroad programs. The Wisconsin in Scotland (WIS) program appeals to students who like a high degree of structure and want to take regular courses based in one location, mainly in the United Kingdom.

On the other hand, students who prefer to work independently can participate in the Semester Abroad Europe (SAE) program that offers opportunities to complete independent research projects. However, students are on their own for much of the semester interviewing people, collecting data and literature, and completing other aspects of significant research. In addition, students are responsible for their own study, lodging and other arrangements.

According to UW-RF political science Professor Wes Chapin, who is the international traveling classroom (ITC) coordinator and spring 2005 group leader, some 60 percent of the 2005 group said that studying in a variety of places together was the key reason they chose the ITC over other semester-length study abroad programs at UW-RF.

"Students like the idea of having a group of fellow students and University staff available to answer questions and share the experience with them, but also want the chance to do some independent travel on the weekends or at the end of the semester," he said.

Brent Greene, director of international programs at UW-RF, says he's especially intrigued with the ITC concept that provides support and assistance, yet will allow students a great deal of flexibility. Greene believes that the ITC will work well and hopes to replicate the program in other parts of the globe.

Nearly two ago, several UW-RF staff members, including Chapin, geography Professor Charlie Radar, who will lead the 2006 ITC, and College of Arts and Sciences Dean Gorden Hedahl thought it prudent to establish a new study abroad program to meet the demands for an experience that would fall somewhere between WIS and SAE. Thus, the idea of the ITC was born.

Chapin says feedback from the 35 students enrolled for spring 2005 has been extremely positive, and 28 students showed up for a recent informational meeting for the spring 2006 group. "It's truly amazing and fantastic that students are willing to plan so far ahead," said Chapin.

Chapin believes that with a little bit of planning all students at UW-RF can find a study abroad experience that will meet their interests and needs. Moreover, it's a program that can be worked into student's schedules so they can graduate on time, a goal shared by all students and staff, he said.

More information is available at the ITC Web site: www.uwrf.edu/itc/.

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Last updated: Tuesday, 22-Jun-2010 16:21:18 Central Daylight Time

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