Morocco, China, England, oh my. A look into the Study Abroad program at STLCC-Meramec
By: Cassie Kibens
Photography in England, archaeology in Morocco and Spanish language immersion in Costa Rica are just a few of the Study Abroad programs STLCC offers.
“It is very important for students to get experience with study abroad,” Chris Sulincevski, Coordinator for International Programs, said. “Because it’s very important for their personal growth, as well as for their academic growth.”
Each year STLCC proposes a variety of international study abroad programs. This 2012-2013 academic year there are more than 10 programs offered. Professors volunteer his/her time and academic knowledge to organize and lead an international program. It takes about a year and a half to get a trip through the process of planning and acceptance by the college.
“To run a study abroad trip you have to have a sense of humor and patience, and realize that a group of students will often times have unique personalities,” Michael Fuller, Professor of Anthropology, said. “And be able to successfully be able to make sure that person enjoys the trip as much as everyone else.”
There are two types of international trips: semester abroad and short-term programs. Semester abroad trips are semester-long programs and cost around $7,900 plus airfare and insurance. Short-term programs are 7-20 days and range from $2,000-$4,000 per person. A student participant must pay tuition in addition to the program’s cost. Students should not allow finances to stop them from taking an opportunity to study abroad, Sulincevski said. He said it is all about the planning. Grants and loans can go toward study abroad, and Sulincevski said he could help students with that.
“It’s so important for students to step outside of their own little world and be a witness to a drastically different culture or even just another culture,” Angela Hamilton, Associate Professor of English, said. “And to see that not only are there differences but almost more importantly there are a lot of similarities.”
Hamilton planned her first trip through STLCC for this semester to Istanbul, Turkey, but due to economic reasons and safety concerns the trip had to be cancelled. Hamilton is no stranger to Turkey. She spent a year there doing a faculty exchange, a year teaching full-time at a Turkish University and a year there on sabbatical. While on sabbatical Hamilton planned her 8-day trip to Istanbul. Hamilton said she would like to eventually develop another trip.
“I want to recreate what I got out of traveling for my students,” Hamilton said.
Fuller is leading his 19th trip through STLCC, a 10-day trip to Morocco for 25-30 students next year with his wife, Neathery Fuller, a sociology professor at Meramec. The last time he visited Morocco was 10 years ago and he is ready to go back to dig up new stuff. Fuller said he has to look at a place and what it has to offer and say “I want to do this.”
“I try to go somewhere that I still have a curiosity about. I don’t want to take [students] someplace that I’ve been so many times to that same place that I’m totally burnt out about it.” Fuller said.
Roze Brooks, recent Meramec student, now studying at University of Missouri- Kansas City, went to Canterbury, England with Professor Fuller in fall of 2010. She went with about 16 other students for three months. Although this was her first time out of the country, she was excited because she had wanted to go to England since she was very young. Brooks’ obsession with England started after she watched “101 Dalmations,” but she benefited from the cultural experience.
“I definitely benefited from the trip in terms of cultural experience.” Brooks said. “There is no better means of understanding a history and national identity that is different than the one you’re born into than actually experiencing the culture.”
Some Study Abroad programs require a certain minimum GPA. Some programs also offer college credit. In order to find out more about prerequisites for various programs and to answer other questions, Chris Sulincevski advises students contact him at email@example.com.