Faculty Grants Lead to New Auburn Abroad Programs

With 22 new faculty-directed Auburn Abroad programs this year, Auburn University students are experiencing a nearly 25 percent increase in opportunities for international study with academic credit in 2013.

These include the addition of programs in countries as diverse as Belize, Denmark, Jordan and Fiji, as well as more variety in the seasons, duration and topics for various existing and new programs.

Deborah Weiss, director of Auburn Abroad in the Office of International Education, said the expansion of study abroad programs has been in the development stage over the past couple of years. The new programs, she noted, are a response to a growing interest among students and their parents for faculty supervised international exposure in their education, which, in turn, recognizes the demand for graduates with international experience in a global economy.

Weiss noted that the expansion of Auburn Abroad offerings is part of a broader increase in international activity under Andy Gillespie, assistant provost for international programs, and others throughout the university to increase international exposure for Auburn students. The programs address a goal in Auburn's strategic plan by making it easier for Auburn students to go abroad and by bringing international students, diplomats and guests to campus.

One hurdle to developing new international programs in the past has been addressed through grants that are now available to faculty through the Office of International Education for site visits as they prepare to launch new programs, Weiss said.

She said faculty-led programs remain popular with students and their parents because the faculty can provide a smooth transition between Auburn's academic environment and the cultural environment of the host countries. Also, she noted, many parents say they gain a greater sense of security having a faculty member on location with their sons and daughters.

Approximately 1,100 students per year participate in Auburn Abroad programs in one or more of four program types: Faculty-led, internships abroad, exchange programs and study abroad programs at other universities. By the time they graduate, one in six undergraduate students will have spent some time abroad in a university-sanctioned program.

With 89 Auburn Abroad programs across the university. every school and college at Auburn now has faculty-directed or faculty-led study abroad opportunities for their students, with programs available in all seasons and ranging from a couple of weeks to a semester and more.

New offerings this year are faculty-led programs in the Honors College in Germany; and the colleges and schools of Agriculture, in Costa Rica and Belize; Architecture, Design and Construction, in England, France, Denmark and Italy; Sciences and Mathematics, in Swaziland; Engineering, in Chile; Human Sciences, in Jordan, Peru, the Bahamas and Fiji; and Liberal Arts, in Italy, Austria and the United Kingdom. Also included are Liberal Arts internships in the United Kingdom, College of Business exchange programs in France and the United Kingdom and Pharmacy exchange programs in Thailand.

In addition, the Auburn University Singers will participate in a cultural and concert tour this summer, with performance venues including Salzburg, the Austrian city famous for both Mozart and "The Sound of Music."

— Roy Summerford

Last Updated: March 26, 2013