Oh the whoes (and excitement) of creating study abroad programs…
Starting with a blank slate can be very exciting but also very challenging when working in study abroad.
William Penn University had its first study abroad program to Rwanda and Tanzania in March of 2012. The focus of the trip was determined by the school a year earlier, with the emphasis being on introducing students to the strategic focus and plans of William Penn University with the Institution of Agriculture, Technology and Education of Kibungo (INATEK). The idea was to get a few students going and participating and then kind of seeing what happens afterwards. During this first trip, 8 students – 5 undergraduate and 3 graduate level – participated on the 11 day experience.
The first group trip to Rwanda has encouraged the school to branch out in other manners by creating an alumni trip to Rwanda and Tanzania, which will occur in late January of 2013, and a group of nursing students spending time in Kigali, Rwanda in March.
And now, as the school administration wraps up its focus from this first study abroad trip to Rwanda and Tanzania, and wraps up the school year, many ideas have been mentioned as to where the next location should be. There is talk about doing a China spring break trip in 2014, after creating stronger ties through a new Chinese partnership. However, that still doesn’t help with spring 2013. As many people in study abroad would share, time is needed before a new program can be implemented (of any length) – as questions such as the following need to be answered: How will this be billed? Where will I live? What will the experience be like? What courses or credits will transfer? How often will I be able to talk with family back home?
As I sit at my office desk, I look at so many programs that offer wonderful choices that could work well with William Penn University in regards to a spring 2013 program. The key to solving this dilemma will be determining what kind of experience the school and students are hoping for and the immediate costs that will be associated with it. Check back in a month or so to get a better idea of where our feet may take us next!