New Study Abroad Trend at NC State
Study abroad is growing in popularity at colleges across the nation. N.C. State is not an exception to this, having most recently added 9 new summer programs. While there are also many semester and year long programs, summer programs have proved to be the most popular with students looking for a summer adventure along with earning academic credit. The study abroad office has answered the increased demand and has made studying abroad in the summer more accessible to students with thirty-six programs in nineteen different countries.
A common misconception about studying abroad is that you have to be fluent in the native language of the country you’re going to. In most cases this is false. Out of five programs going to France, only two have language requirements. Out of two programs going to Italy, one has a language requirement. Students do not have to be a language major anymore to study abroad; in fact many programs contain numerous general education requirements. These classes, such as one in Anthropology or History, will specialize in the country you are studying in, such as in Italy you will take Italian History. This helps students to be able to go to a place of their choosing, like Africa or Latin America, and be able to take classes that will contribute to their degree.
The majority of summer study abroad trips are open to students who have completed an academic year at NCSU, while some are also open to non-NCSU students. However there are programs specifically tailored to upper-classmen that offer higher level, major-specific classes. This would include a program in Concepcion, Chile. This program is limited to advanced undergraduates or grad students and offers a 500-level biological statistics class for engineers. In contrast, there is the Florence summer program that is open to all undergraduates, offering psychology, history, language, and art history courses. The Florence program, along with numerous others, only requires a 2.5 GPA. However, other trips, such as the Oxford program, require a 3.2 GPA. As long as you are a decent student, there is a program that you can participate in, as GPAs range from 2.0 to 3.5.
Studying abroad, even just for a summer, is not cheap. Prices of programs range from $1500 to $5000 with the average price being around $3000. This is about ¼ of the price of a semester long program. The application is also less rigorous then the semester application. All of the classes in the summer programs are pre-approved to transfer back for academic credit as opposed to the stressful requirement of having to get departmental approval for each class for a semester program. The summer programs also do not require teacher recommendations and applicants only have to write one short essay explaining why they wish to participate. The ease of the application, more affordable cost, and gain of class credits without giving up a semester, have made summer study abroad increasingly fashionable with current students.