For students who aren’t ready to study abroad over a long period of time, Ferris State University’s Short Term Study Abroad program may be an attractive alternative.
The program is comprised of academic classes led by Ferris faculty and typically range from two to four weeks in duration. Students who participate in the program can earn from three to six credits.
Study Abroad and National Student Exchange Manager Tara Benzing, based in the Office of International Education, noted that “80 percent of students who go abroad choose short term programs instead. Any study abroad program, however, allows a student to become completely immersed in the culture.”
Benzing added that the appeal of a short-term program is the flexibility that allows opportunities to take internships or summer classes after the trip in addition to the lower cost.
During the Summer 2011 term, trips scheduled through Ferris’ program include International Business in Africa, Cultural Psychology/International Business in Turkey, Educational System in Japan, French Literature and Culture in Martinique, International Social Work in El Salvador, Cross Cultural Communication in Ireland and Scotland, Cross Cultural Communication Studies and Humanities in Austria and Germany, Italian Business in Italy, Transcultural Nursing in Finland, International Health Perspectives in the South Pacific and more.
During the Fall 2011 term, a trip to South Africa is scheduled for Dental Hygiene Health Promotions.
John Caserta, a Languages and Literature professor in Ferris’ College of Arts and Sciences, first offered such a cultural program at Ferris as he provided students an opportunity to study in Europe. His first Ferris study abroad program, in 1986, featured stops in England, Wales and Scotland. In 1989, Caserta led a trip to Italy and has continued to direct a program in that country the last 21 years. In 2007 and 2010 he directed a group that visited Russia.
“I find great satisfaction when I see students gain knowledge and understanding of different cultures,” Caserta said. “When I can bring students to the great cities and museums of the world where they can see the works of the great artists or read the literature of great writers, when I can give students an understanding of beauty and art and its importance in their lives, I achieve my inspirations as a teacher because I know I have changed their lives in fundamental ways.”
Caserta said, “I have found that such programs fundamentally change individuals who participate by gaining different world views and perspectives about their lives and the lives of others.”
Graphic Design senior Calvin Carter, of Standish, participated in a 2008 trip to Greece, Rome and Florence that focused on Art History. The trip lasted 14 days. Carter traveled with a group led by Humanities professors David Aiken and James “Ted” Walker.
“Traveling with the two professors allowed me to see and experience the locations and sites from art historical and philosophical perspectives,” Carter said.
Carter was able to experience places such as the Coliseum in Rome, the Mycenae Ruins in Greece and the Temple of Poseidon, also in Greece.
“It is one experience to study art history in class but another to stand in front of the Sistine Chapel and discuss it,” he said. “There is no other feeling like seeing the marvels you studied in class in person with professors so passionate about it.”
Non-Ferris students are welcome to participate in short-term program trips as well.